FROM THE WRITING CENTER
@ THE A.R.C.
-Understand what sentence fragments are and be able to identify them.
-Recognize a couple different forms that sentence fragments can take.
-Learn how to correct sentence fragments.
A sentence fragment tries its best to be a sentence, but it just can’t make it. It’s missing something.
Often, the sentence is missing a verb or part of a verb string:
John working extra hard on his hook shot lately.
Here, for instance, the sentence is missing an auxiliary —such as is, or has
been, in this case— that would complete the verb string and the sentence.
John has been working extra hard on his hook shot lately.
Sentence FragmentsSometimes a sentence fragment can give you a great deal of information, but it’s still not a complete
After the coach encouraged him so much last year and
he seemed to improve with each passing game.
• Here we have a subject-verb relationship — in fact, we have two of
them — but the entire clause is subordinated by the subordinating
conjunction word after. Therefore we have no independent clause.
• Here is the sentence without the subordinating conjunction.
• An independent clause is a complete sentence. It has a subject, a verb,
and expresses a complete thought.
• A dependent clause is a kind of fragment. While it has a subject and a
verb, it does not express a complete thought.
The coach encouraged him so much last year, and he
seemed to improve with each passing game.
Be alert for strings of prepositional phrases that never get around to establishing a
• A Prepositional Phrase is simply a preposition and its
• Again, be careful of sentences that give a great deal of
information but still don’t contain a clear subject and verb.
• Something to take note of is that the subject will never be
a part of a prepositional phrase.
Immediately after the founding of the college
and during those early years as the predominant
educational institution in the American
If you are still having trouble with identifying clauses, phrases, and fragments, check out more
information at the following links:
• Purdue Owl Online Lab
• UNC Writing Center