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Writing

This Guide was created as a joint project of the Academic Resource Center and the William H. Hannon Library.

Directed Learning: Fragments

Fragments are incomplete sentences.  They may be missing a subject, a verb, or a complete thought.

Lacks a subject – the who or what

            Fragment: I studied for a few hours.  Then took the quiz. 

            Correction: I studied for a few hours. Then I took the quiz.

            Correction: I studied for a few hours and then took the quiz.

 

Subject is trying to occupy two positions in a sentence: something a subject CANNOT do.

           Fragment: In the mid-twentieth century marked a shift to minimalism.

Mid-twentieth century is a noun in the prepositional phrase in the mid-twentieth century. Mid-twentieth century is also acting as the subject of the verb marked, as in the mid-twentieth century marked a shift. . . . This is illegal because the same noun can’t do both things.

            Correction: The mid-twentieth century marked a shift to minimalism.

            Correction: In the mid-twentieth century, design marked a shift to minimalism.

 

Lacks a verb or the correct form of the verb

            Fragment: Students who are dedicated and devote many hours to volunteer work.

            Correction: Students who are dedicated and devote many hours to volunteer work receive intrinsic rewards.

 

Mixed problems

            Fragment: The fact that he flies to New York every Monday, a job requirement that gives him tons of frequent flyer miles.

Both parts of this fragment are incomplete: the fact that he flies to New York every Monday AND a job requirement that gives him tons of frequent flyer miles.  Both parts are missing verbs: there is no verb for the subject the fact, and no verb for the subject a job requirement.  You can fix this fragment two ways:

            Correction: The fact that he flies to New York every Monday gives him tons of frequent flyer miles.

            Correction: He flies to New York every Monday, a job requirement that gives him tons of frequent flyer miles.

 

In the second correction, by eliminating The fact, we have eliminated an extra subject that no longer needs a verb to complete it.

 

Lacks a complete thought - usually found in dependent clauses.

A dependent clause contains both a subject and a verb but fails to convey a complete thought. To fix these problems, you need to add an independent clause. 

 

            Fragment: So that she could save money for her trip.

            Correction: Rekha worked during the summer so that she could save money for her trip.

    

In the fragment example above, notice that the dependent clause has both a subject (she) and a verb (could save) but it is still incomplete because the statement cannot logically stand alone. This is because it began with So that which must connect two ideas.  The first idea is missing.

 

            Fragment: Although she worked long hours at the grocery store.

            Correction: Although she worked long hours at the grocery store, she didn’t make enough money and had to cancel her trip.

 

            Fragment:  For example, when Cruz decided to test one of his homemade parachutes. He learned a valuable lesson about gravity.

            Correction:  For example, when Cruz decided to test one of his homemade parachutes, he learned a valuable lesson about gravity.  

Directed Learning Activity: Fragments

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