Sentence Fragments Handout - Xavier University of Louisiana

Xavier University Writing Resource Center
Sentence Fragments: What Are They, and How Do I Fix Them?
A sentence fragment is an incomplete sentence. There are two common circumstances under which a
sentence fragment may occur.
 A sentence fragment occurs when the sentence is missing either a subject or a verb.
Example: Walked down the street.
Walked is a verb—but who walked? The subject—the doer of the action—is missing
from the sentence.
 A sentence fragment can also occur when the sentence starts with a subordinating word (a
sentence adverb) and does not communicate a complete thought.
Example: Since I was at Target anyway.
Since is a subordinating word. What’s happening? What did “I” do? Information is
missing here.
To correct a sentence fragment, you should follow one or both of these steps.
 Identify the subject and the verb in the sentence.
o If either or the subject or the verb is missing, write one for the sentence.
Example: Anne walked down the street.
Anne is the subject and walked is the verb in this example sentence.
 Complete the thought expressed in the sentence.
o If the fragment starts with a subordinating word (a sentence adverb), try combining it
with the sentence next to it—whichever sentence makes the most sense. Otherwise,
write the rest of the sentence to complete the thought.
Example: Since I was at Target anyway, I decided to buy some ice cream.
This sentence communicates a complete idea and has a subject and a verb.
For more information on how to identify and correct sentence fragments, visit the Writing Resource
Center in St. Joseph Academic and Health Center Room 106!
WRC Handout
Fall 2012