Sentence Structure Errors
Sentence Fragments

Sentence fragment

A sentence fragment is a group of words that is not a sentence even though it may begin with a capital letter and end with a period. It is not a sentence because the fragment does not make sense by itself.

 Ran up the stairs.

A subordinate clause has a subject and a verb, but it does not make sense by itself.

 When he ran up the stairs.

This is a clause because it has a subject he and a verb ran but, unlike a principal clause, it does not make sense by itself.

A principal clause is a clause that makes sense by itself.

 The tired boy ran up the stairs to his bedroom.

Correcting a sentence fragment

To correct a sentence fragment, you must turn it into a complete sentence. It must have a subject and a verb, and it must make sense by itself.

If you begin a sentence with and or but, you are creating a sentence fragment. These words are coordinate conjunctions, and coordinate conjunctions cannot be used to begin a sentence.

 And then Tom began his long speech.
 But he could not reduce the speed of his vehicle.

Correction

 Then Tom began his long speech.
 He could not reduce the speed of his vehicle.
Practice

Correct the fragments in following sentences, using the most effective method.

  1. Running down the road without his sneakers.
  2. The students with their knapsacks squeezing into the auditorium.

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