Fixing Fragments

A fragment is part of a sentence that is missing a subject or verb, and it does not express a complete thought. While it is punctuated to look like a complete sentence, a fragment cannot stand on its own.

Here are the distinguishing features of a sentence fragment:

Once you’ve identified what your sentence fragment is missing, fix it using one of these strategies:


Three Ways to Fix a Fragment

1. Attach the fragment to a nearby complete sentence.

Sometimes a fragment occurs because it’s a leftover of from a previous sentence or it’s an abandoned clause meant to introduce the following sentence.

Incorrect: I forgot to eat breakfast. On the morning of my driver’s test.
Correct:   I forgot to eat breakfast on the morning of my driver’s test.

Incorrect: If the front door is locked. Use the back entrance.
Correct:   If the front door is locked, use the back entrance.

2. Revise the fragment by adding whatever is missing – subject, verb, complete thought.

Incorrect: Loves to lie around in the sun all day. (Subject is missing. Who loves to lie around?)
Correct:   My roommate’s pug loves to lie around in the sun all day.

Incorrect: Joe to train everyday. (Verb is missing. Also, “to train” is the wrong verb form.)
Correct:   Joe trains everyday for the marathon next month.
Correct:   Joe is training everyday for the marathon next month.

3. Rewrite the fragment or the entire passage that contains the fragment.

Incorrect: Our new landlord was expected to make changes. Such as fixing the plumbing,  
installing a new washer, and replacing the security gate. Has not done any of it yet and weeks have passed.

Correct:  Our new landlord was expected to make changes, such as fixing the plumbing, installing a new washer, and replacing the security gate lock. Weeks have passed, and he still has not done any of it yet.