Answered By: Rachel Willard Last Updated: May 08, 2017 Views: 300
Every complete sentence has to have a subject and a verb. A sentence fragment is missing one or both of these essential elements. Here are a few examples:
Ran after the ball. (This fragment has no subject.)
My aunts, uncles, and cousins. (This fragment has no verb.)
A dependent clause, which is a group of words that cannot stand alone as a complete sentence, can be a fragment:
After we eat dinner tomorrow night.
For this phrase to be grammatically correct, you would have to combine it with an independent clause, which can stand alone grammatically:
After we eat dinner tomorrow night, I plan to have dessert.
A phrase is also a group of words that cannot stand alone as a complete sentence. It must be paired with an independent clause as well:
Incorrect: During the holidays.
Correct: During the holidays, our entire extended family gathers together.
Would you like a current or future assignment to be reviewed by the Writing Center? If so please visit the Writing Center's Paper Review Website and make an appointment with us!
- Learn more about the general sentence elements.
- See other tips on avoiding sentence fragments and run-on sentences.
- Take a look at the archived "Mastering the Mechanics of Writing" webinar series for some great explanation of using grammatically strong sentences.
- What is a phrase?
- What is a clause?
- Check out the Writing Center's self-paced grammar modules.
Do you have other general writing questions? E-mail the Writing Center at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Other questions about your doctoral capstone or the Form & Style review? E-mail the Dissertation Editors at email@example.com.
Want to peruse other writing resources? Go to the Writing Center’s homepage.