Grammar Lesson: Sentences, Fragments, and Run-On Sentences
A sentence can be a word (Stop!) or a group of words that must contain a subject (doer), a verb (action), and a complete thought.
- In the sentence, ''Lorina washed her face,'' the subject is Lorina, the verb is washed, and the group of words makes a complete thought.
A fragment is a group of words that might lack a subject or a verb and does not make a complete thought.
- ''During the trial'' is a fragment since there is no subject, verb, or complete thought.
- ''Vicki running next to her sister'' is another fragment because, though it has a subject, (Vicki), and possibly a verb (running), the group of words does not make a complete thought. Thus, it is not a sentence.
- The group of words ''After these stray dogs were placed in the pound'' is also a fragment. It has a subject (dogs) and a verb (were placed), but there is no complete thought.
A run-on sentence is two (or more) sentences incorrectly written as a single sentence.
- ''The sofa is comfortable, the chair is too'' is an example of a run-on sentence because two complete sentences are incorrectly joined (or spliced) by a comma.
- Sometimes run-on sentences have no punctuation at all! An example of this is, ''Princeton University is a fine place of higher learning it is located in New Jersey.'' Here, there are really two sentences that have been mistakenly joined or spliced into one.
Activity 1- What's What?
Five sentences (S), five fragments (F), and five run-on sentences (ROS) are found in these fifteen groups of words. Write the appropriate code letter(s) on the line next to the group of words.
- ____ Have you already visited that famous London museum?
- ____ At the beginning of the movie.
- ____ Let's open the presents, we want to see what you have been given.
- ____ Last year we photographed some of the events.
- ____ Again after all of the applause.
- ____ Before they started their photography business.
- ____ Please handle these expensive vases with care.
- ____ The men fixing the heater need more time, they can bill us more if they need to do so.
- ____ During the celebration held at the plaza.
- ____ Bring the empty cartons back from the factory they can be used again.
- ____ While you dial Molly's number, the rest of us can continue to set the table.
- ____ There are too many people in this elevator, who can take another one so this one is not so crowded?
- ____ Several telephone operators tried to assist me finally I gave up.
- ____ Leaving through the back door in the middle of the night last August.
- ____ We would really like to accept your invitation.
Activity 2- Making Sense
All ten groups of words are either fragments or run-on sentences. On a separate sheet of paper, write a logical, grammatically correct version of those words. You can add or delete words, but keep the main idea intact.
Here is an example: ''An unfamiliar car in the driveway.'' This can be changed to ''We noticed an unfamiliar car in the driveway.''
- Mount Rushmore is fabulous it is located in South Dakota
- Before the storm started
- If you think that it is a workable plan
- Oliver is a great friend he never speaks badly about anybody
- James Short just arrived he is funny
- Skateboarding is wonderful exercise my friends and I like to go skateboarding
- While the repairman fixed the dishwasher
- This author had written for seven consecutive hours she was exhausted
- Looking into the car's window
- The entertainer sang many songs we like all of them
- What's What? Sentences, Fragments, and Run-On Sentences
- Numbers 1, 4, 7, 11, and 15 are sentences.
- Numbers 2, 5, 6, 9, and 14 are fragments.
- Numbers 3, 8, 10, 12, and 13 are run-on sentences.
- Making Sense (and Sentences)
(These are possible answers.)
- Mount Rushmore, located in South Dakota, is fabulous.
- Before the storm started, we moved the tables and chairs into the shed.
- If you think that it is a workable plan, let's go with it.
- Oliver is a great friend who never speaks badly about anybody.
- The funny James Short just arrived.
- My friends and I like to get wonderful exercise by skateboarding.
- While the repairman fixed the dishwasher, we watched the documentary about Nigeria.
- After the author wrote for seven consecutive hours, she was exhausted.
- Looking into the car's window, the police officer spotted the evidence.
- We like all the songs that the entertainer sang.