Sentence Fragments and Run-Ons Help
Fragments sometimes result when writers start sentences with words such as when, after, because, since, before, and as soon as. For example, does the following group of words have a subject and a verb? Is it a complete sentence?
When the new product arrives.
The example has a subjectlike word, product, and a verblike word, arrives, and it is still not a complete sentence. If you say it out loud, you will hear that it is unfinished:
When the new product arrives…
Then what will happen? Possible completions include the following:
- When the new product arrives, we'll call our advertisers.
- When the new product arrives, we'll send a special introductory offer to our best customers.
- When the new product arrives, we'll have to stay late to pack it for shipping.
Groups of words may seem to be sentences because they contain subject and verbtype words, but beware of incomplete thoughts! In the initial example (When the new product arrives.), product seems to be the subject and arrives seems to be the verb, yet the example is still an incomplete thought.
As you read the following examples, decide if each has the subject and verb it needs:
- Looking at the job market from a new perspective. (Hint: Beware of sentences that start with -ing ending words.)
- My friend who teaches a wellness course.
- Heading for the West Coast for a five-day vacation.
- Your doctor's appointment scheduled for Tuesday.
- When the man waiting to see you.
Let's take a look at what's missing. In the first example, who is looking at the job market? The subject is missing. The second example is tricky. My friend is the subject. The words who teaches a wellness course describe the friend. Still there is no verb. What does your friend do? Try this: My friend who teaches a wellness course drives 100 miles a day to get to her class. The verb is drives. In the third example, who was heading for the West Coast? The subject is missing. In the fourth example, the verb is missing. The fifth example needs an action to complete it.
Sentence Fragments Practice and Answers
Finish the following statements to make them complete sentences. There are several possible ways to complete the sentences; just be sure that each sentence has a subject and verb.
- Before I leave for California __________.
- As soon as the rain stops __________.
- Because I'm trying to get a promotion __________.
- When I exercise several times a week __________.
- After I took a nutrition course __________.
- As soon as the rain stops and we have all the information we need about the weather __________.
- Before I started this job and when I was looking for one __________.
- Since you started working here and agreed to take the early shift __________.
- After they serve lunch and we've stayed a while __________.
- Tom, whom everyone admires since he was precinct captain __________.
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