 Complete
sentences have at least a subject
and a verb. The subject is the actor of the
sentence and the verb is what the subject
does.
 Example: My cat eats.
 “My cat” is the subject. The verb is “eats.”
 Sometimes, though, a subject and a verb are
not enough to make a complete sentence.
The following slides show some tricky
sentence fragments and how to spot them.
A
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
sentence must also be a complete thought.
Complete sentence: Although it is windy, I will
still go for my walk today.
Fragment: Although it is windy.
 In
the fragment “it” is a subject and “is” is a
verb, but the word “although” leaves the
reader expecting more to the sentence and
the thought.
 For this reason, “Although it is windy” is
what is called a dependent clause, that is, it
depends on “I will still go for my walk today”
to make sense as a thought.
 Look
out for subordinating conjunctions
(conjunctions that make one part of the
sentence dependent on another part). If you
spot one at the beginning of one of your
sentences, make sure you have completed
the thought.
 Some common subordinating conjunctions:
although, even though, because, when, while
 Also,
look for sentences that begin with
prepositions. Make sure you have completed
the thought.


Complete thought: You will find some letters on
the table./On the table, you will find some
letters.
Fragment: On the table.
 Some
common prepositions: on, onto, in,
into, out, under, over, from, around, about,
to, toward, by, for, until, unless, after
A
sentence that begins with “and,” “but,” or
“or” has traditionally been considered to
always be a sentence fragment.
 This rule is changing. Many people now
accept such sentences as long as the rest of
the sentence is a complete thought.
 Be careful, though, before you start a
sentence with one of those words. Many
professors still hold with the old rule. To play
it safe, avoid these words at the beginning of
a sentence.
 These
words also often appear at the
beginning of sentence fragments. Notice the
difference between complete
sentences/complete thoughts and sentence
fragments.





Complete sentence: He drove the truck that he
bought from me last year.
Fragment: That he bought from me last year.
Complete sentence: We went with Susan, who
loves roller coasters.
Fragment: Who loves roller coasters.
Exception: “Who loves roller coasters?” is
acceptable as a question.
 After
it rained, Jim went to the store. The
one on the corner. He bought flour and milk.
And he got some eggs. Even though it was
raining, Jim walked home with his groceries.
Because his car was in the shop. When he got
home, he mixed up eggs, butter, and sugar in
a bowl. He seemed to have lost the flour.
Where could it be? On the table. Jim added
some vanilla and the flour. Then, he dropped
globs of dough on a sheet and placed it in
the oven. Cookies. He could hardly wait.
 After
it rained, Jim went to the store. The
one on the corner. He bought flour and milk.
And he got some eggs. Even though it was
raining, Jim walked home with his groceries.
Because his car was in the shop. When he got
home, he mixed up eggs, butter, and sugar in
a bowl. He seemed to have lost the flour.
Where could it be? On the table. Jim added
some vanilla and the flour. Then, he dropped
globs of dough on a sheet and placed it in
the oven. Cookies. He could hardly wait.
 Sentence
fragments aren’t always bad. They
can be used in informal writing as long as
meaning is clear. People tend to speak using
fragments frequently.
 Sentence fragments also often appear in
creative writing. You will probably see them
in your favorite novels.
 For academic work, however, only use
complete sentences.
 Now that you know what fragments are and
how to spot them, you can use them with
care.