Fragments vs. Run-On Sentences Claire Brownstone
Fragments • A sentence fragment is an incomplete sentence. • They lack either a subject or a verb or both. • The most common mistake students make is with dependent clauses.
Dependent Clauses • Dependent clauses have a subject and a verb, so they look complete, but do not express a complete thought. • Example: If you want to go with me. • What makes this sentence incomplete is the first word: If. • Words like if, because, after, and when are subordinating conjunctions. • They join two sentences, make one sentence dependent on another, and indicate a logical relationship.
How To Fix Fragments • Remember that every dependent clause needs to be attached to an independent clause. • Scan sentences for subject, verb, and complete thought. • If you find a subordinating conjunction, identify the whole dependent clause and attach it to an independent clause.
Run-On Sentences • You are making a run-on when you put two complete sentences (a subject and its predicate and another subject and its predicate) together in one sentence without separating them properly. • Ex: My favorite Mediterranean spread is hummus it is very garlicky. • Just because it is a long sentence does not mean it is a run-on!
Fixing Run-Ons • To find run-ons, form the sentence into a question • Ex: Is my favorite Mediterranean spread hummus is it very garlicky? • Doesn’t work, does it? You must form it into two separate questions. • Fix run-ons using semicolons, commas and coordinating conjunctions (and, but, yet), subordinating conjunctions, or dashes. • You can also make two separate sentences. • NEVER use just a comma, or you end up with a comma splice. • Ex: My favorite Mediterranean spread is hummus, it is very garlicky.