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Pasco-Hernando Community College Tutorial Series
What is a fragment? A fragment is a group of words that is less than a sentence. A fragment lacks either a subject, predicate (verb), or a complete thought. In other words, a fragment is a group of words that does not have a subject, a predicate, and/or a complete thought.
Identifying Fragments In order to identify a fragment in our writing, it helps to know the types of fragments : -ing fragments Infinitive fragments Appositive fragments Conjunction fragments o Coordinating conjunction fragments o Subordinating conjunction fragments o Relative pronoun clause fragments
-ing Fragments Swimming in the ocean. Skating in the park. These are not sentences. They do not have a predicate (verb). Words that end in -ing without a helping verb are nouns, not verbs. They are called gerunds. An -ing word needs a helper to be a verb: is swimming, are skating. These can be fixed by joining it to another complete sentence Swimming in the ocean, they saw a school of colorful fish. or by simply adding the needed verb. Skating in the park is fun.
Infinitive Fragments An infinitive is the word to + a verb. Infinitive fragments start with the word to. These fragments, like –ing fragments, lack a verb because infinitive forms are not true verbs. To become a famous actor. To walk to school in the snow. Infinitive fragments also do not have a complete thought. These can be fixed by adding a subject and predicate She has always wanted to become a famous actor. or by simply adding the needed verb. To walk to school in the snow is an unpleasant prospect.
Appositive Fragments Appositives are groups of words that do not have a subject and verb (phrases). The class in room 302. Our only philosophy professor. It is necessary to introduce a specific subject and verb to complete the thought to fix an appositive fragment. Introduction to Speech I, the class in room 302, makes a lot of noise. or use the phrase as a subject and add a verb and complete thought. Our only philosophy professor is famous in her field.
Conjunction Fragments Conjunctions are words that join parts of a sentence. A word group consisting only of a clause beginning with a conjunction is not sentence even though it has a subject and a verb since it does not complete a thought. Conjunction clauses are dependent clauses There are three types of conjunctions commonly seen in fragments: coordinating conjunction fragment (FANBOYS) subordinating conjunctions (whose that which whichever, who whoever, whom whomever, what whatever WTWW WW WW WW) relative pronoun conjunctions (if though since, although after, because before, while when ITS AA BB WW)
Coordinating Conjunction Fragments Coordinating conjunction fragments are word groups that have a subject and a verb and begin with a coordinating conjunction: for, and, nor, but, or, yet, or so (FANBOYS). So I had to pack the night before. And many people believe that aliens have visited earth. But they had some good results. These word groups are not sentences. Although they have a subject and a proper verb, they do not complete a thought. Coordinating conjunction clauses are dependent clauses.
Coordinating Conjunction Fragment These can be fixed by either removing the conjunction or adding more information. Remember, if you join two complete sentences with a coordinating conjunction, a comma is needed to separate the two. My plane left at 5:00 in the morning, so I had to pack the night before. However, if there are not two sentences, no comma is used. Many people believe in ghosts and that aliens have visited Earth.
Subordinate Clause Fragments Subordinate clause fragments are word groups that have a subject and a verb and begin with a subordinating conjunction such as if though since, although after, because before, while when (ITS AA BB WW). These types of fragments leave the reader wondering what comes next. Because it was raining When Im feeling angry If Im feeling blue These word groups are not sentences. Although they have a subject and a proper verb (predicate), they do not complete a thought. For this reason, they are called dependent or subordinate clauses. They cannot stand alone as sentences.
Subordinate Clause Fragment They can be fixed by adding more information. If you begin a sentence with a subordinate conjunction clause, it is considered introductory words, and a comma is needed to separate the subordinate clause from the rest of the sentence. When Im angry, I like to listen to music. If the subordinate conjunction clause starts after the main clause, no comma is used since the words are no longer introducing the main clause. I call my best friend if Im feeling blue.
Relative Clause Fragments Relative clauses are word groups that have a subject and a verb and begin with a relative pronoun: whose that which whichever, who whoever, whom whomever, what whatever (WTW WW WW WW WW). Relative pronouns are also conjunctions since they join parts of a sentence. That I have always wanted to visit. Which are green. Which I play every day. Note: See how every day is two words since the meaning is each day. Use everyday (one word) when you are describing something: everyday shoes.
Relative Clause Fragments They can also be fixed by adding more information. Remember, when you use the word that, you never use a comma. New York is a city that I have always wanted to visit. However, commas may or may not be needed with who or which clauses. If the relative clause is necessary for the meaning of the sentence, then do NOT use commas to separate the clause. If the information in the relative clause is not necessary for the meaning of the sentence, then DO use commas to separate the clause. Oranges which are green should not be eaten. (necessary – no commas) My guitar, which I play every day, was a gift from my father. (unnecessary – commas)
To Review Fragments are words groups that are less than a sentence. Fragments are missing a subject, proper verb (predicate), or a complete thought. To fix a fragment, we need to identify what is missing and complete the sentence. -ing phrases, phrases that begin with the word to, word groups that just name something are fragments that are missing a subject or verb Clauses that begin with a conjunction are fragments even though they have a subject and verb. They are not complete thoughts.