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Sentence Fragments


Sentence fragments are phrases or dependent clauses that are erroneously used as sentences. A proper sentence must contain a subject and a verb, which, together, can be called an independent clause. An independent clause is a group of words that can stand alone as a grammatical unit. A sentence can have more than one independent clause, but it needs at least one independent clause to be considered a sentence. Many sentence fragments are dependent clauses, which cannot stand alone.

Examples:

The loudly crying infant in the back seat. [Fragment: no verb]
The loudly crying infant sat in the back seat. [Sentence]
The loudly crying infant in the back seat had a fever. [Sentence]

Kept me from doing my homework. [Fragment:no subject]
Softball practice kept me from doing my homework. [Sentence]

On the rocks. [Fragment: no subject, no verb]
The fisherman sat on the rocks. [Sentence]

Because I haven't seen him in two days. [Fragment: dependent clause: has a subject and a verb, but cannot stand alone]
I don't know if he's all right because I haven't seen him in two days. [Sentence]

Many sentence fragments result from the improper use of a word as a verb.

Example:

The computer with a color monitor. [Fragment: no verb: with is not a verb]
The computer has a color monitor. [Sentence: has is a verb]

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