Fragments & run ons

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  • 1. Fragments & Run-ons Mr. O’Connor With special guest speaker Kevin Garnett
  • 2. Sentence combining --- avoiding run-ons and fragments
    • Sentences in English are traditionally described as simple, compound, complex , or compound-complex .
      • A 'run-on' error occurs in a compound or compound-complex sentence that is not properly connected.
      • A fragment is a word-group that is not a sentence because it does not contain at least one independent clause.
    • Clearly, in order to understand what the 'Run-on' and 'fragment' errors are, we first need to know what factors make a sentence, whether simple, compound, complex, or compound-complex, really a sentence.
  • 3. The Four Types of Sentences
    • A simple sentence has one independent clause that contains one subject and at least one verb. (Note that a clause is a group of related words containing a subject and a verb. It differs from a phrase in that a phrase does not include a subject and verb relationship.)
    • A compound sentence has two or more independent clauses joined by a coordinating conjunction (for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so).
    • A complex sentence has one independent clause and one or more dependent clauses.
    • A complex-compound sentence has at least two independent clauses and at least one dependent clause.
  • 4. (1) The Simple Sentence
    • A simple sentence has a single subject-verb combination. Thus, it has only one idea, or thought.
    • Examples:
    • 1. Birds fly.
    • 2. The meeting started early.
    • 3. Water has been contaminated by the sewage system.
    • A simple sentence may have more than one subject.
    • Examples:
    • 1. Mary and Sam went home.
    • 2. Sand and dust covered my clothes.
  • 5. (1) The Simple Sentence
    • A simple sentence may have more than one verb.
    • Examples:
    • 1. The boys played and won the game.
    • 2. The machine belched smoke and stopped.
    • Clearly, a simple sentence may have several subjects and verbs, as in the following sentence, for example:
      • Joe, Sally, and Peter cleaned the carpet, washed the windows, and changed the curtains.
  • 6. (2) The Compound Sentence
    • A compound sentence combines two simple sentences.
    • Examples:
    • 1. Birds fly, but fish swim.
    • 2. The meeting started early, so we were late.
    • 3. Water has been contaminated, for the sewage system broke down.
    • Clearly, such a sentence carries more than one idea. Note that each of these examples has two subjects, two verbs and two ideas.
  • 7. (2) The Compound Sentence
    • Two simple sentences should be combined correctly in order to write a compound sentence
    • Example: Mary wanted to go shopping, but Ron wanted to watch the game.
    • * A compound sentence is often prone to the run-on error.
  • 8. (3) The Complex Sentence
    • The complex sentence has a simple sentence and a statement that begins with a dependent word.
      • Example: I failed the final exam because I did not answer all the questions.
    • A complex sentence can also start with a dependent word statement followed by a simple sentence.
  • 9. (3) The Complex Sentence
    • Example: Because I did not answer all the questions, I failed the final exam.
    • In this second example here, 'because' is called a dependent word. The first part of this sentence is not complete in its meaning and is called a fragment. For instance, if you were to present it as a sentence,
      • Because I did not answer all the questions
    • it would be an incomplete thought, and will be called a fragment, because you need the second part (", I failed the final exam") to complete the thought.
  • 10. (4) The Compound-Complex Sentence
    • The compound-complex sentence has both, compound as well as complex, sentences.
    • Example: I finished my household chores, so I decided to do some shopping although I did not have any money.
    • Note that the first part here ("I finished ... some shopping") is a compound sentence.
    • In constructing compound-complex sentences, therefore, we need to guard against both run-ons as well as fragments.
  • 11. What is a 'Run-on'?
    • In Run-on sentences, the ideas run together, without any correct punctuation marks connecting them.
    • Example of a 'Run-on' sentence:
      • Mary wanted to go shopping Ron wanted to watch the game.
    • The correct form of this sentence is:
      • Mary wanted to go shopping, but Ron wanted to watch the game.
  • 12. Try this quiz on identifying run-ons: Which of these sentences have 'Run-on' errors?
      • 1. Tom and Gloria went to the movie, but the tickets were sold out.
    • 2. The alarm sounded Gloria woke up.
    • 3. The game stopped, for the rain came.
    • 4. The meeting was over; therefore, we went home.
  • 13. Run-ons reveal fused sentences. The following methods are commonly used to correct them.
    • Method 1: Period and a Capital Letter
    • Break the two complete thoughts into two separate sentences by putting a period at the end of the first thought, to form a complete sentence, and then a capital letter to begin the second thought as a separate sentence.
    • Method 2: Comma and a Joining Word
    • Use a comma and a joining word to connect the two complete thoughts.
    • Common joining words: for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so
    • Method 3: Semicolon
    • Use a semicolon to mark the break between two thoughts.
    • Example: The restaurant was beautiful the food was overpriced.
    • Method 4: Subordination
    • This method of joining related thoughts uses subordination, by showing that one thought in a sentence is not as important as the other thought.
      • Example: Although my grades are very good this year. My social life rates only a C.
    • The first word-group is clearly a fragment, and not a complete sentence. Following is one way to construct a single sentence by combining the two:
    • Although my grades are very good this year, my social life rates only a C.
  • 14. What is a fragment?
    • A complete sentence must have a subject and a verb and must express a complete thought. Therefore, a fragment is a word group that lacks a subject or a verb, and fails to express a complete thought.
    • Clearly, in order to avoid the 'fragment' errors in your writing, you need to learn to write the complex sentences correctly.
  • 15. How to Avoid Fragments
    • 1. Make sure every sentence has a subject and a verb.
      • Crystal works at the nursing home.
    • 2. Do not mistake a verbal* for the verb of the subject.
      • Wondering about his future (This is a fragment.)
      • My brother is wondering about his future. (This is a complete sentence.)
    • 3. Make sure every sentence has at least one independent clause (An independent clause has a subject and a verb and can stand alone as a complete sentence.)
      • Because she prepared for her test (This is a dependent clause.)
      • Because she prepared for her test, she got an A. (This is an independent clause.)
      • * Non-finite verbs (think "unfinished") cannot, by themselves, be main verbs:
        • The broken window . . .
        • The wheezing gentleman . .