Fragment sentences

Writing Tips >> Fragment sentences

A sentence fragment is an incomplete sentence created by errors of many kinds in three areas: missing subjects, missing verbs, or dependent clause fragments. They can cause confusion as the reader might need to guess the intended meaning.
Examples of three common fragment errors, with corrections and explanations, are shown below.

Three Common Sentence Fragment Errors

KEY:
Subject, Verb, independent clause, fragment or connective error, dependent clauses.

1) Missing subject:

De Candolle (5) proposed a taxonomy led to 14 categories of fauna.

De Candolle (5) proposed a taxonomy which led to 14 categories of fauna. (relative clause)

De Candolle (5) proposed a taxonomy, leading to 14 categories of fauna. (participle clause)

Note: ‘taxonomy’ is the object of ‘proposed’, so it cannot be the subject of ‘led’. Thus, ‘led’ has no subject and without a subject, it is a fragment.

2) Missing verb:

Subsequently, the alignment with the profile of each training sequence to form an alignment score vector.

Subsequently, the alignment with the profile of each training sequence forms an alignment score vector.

Note: ‘to form’ is an infinitive verb so the subject does not have a verb and the whole sentence is a fragment.

3) Dependent clause fragment:

Several companies are researching earthquake-safe structural damping systems for skyscrapers. For example, by increasing the reinforcement of older tall buildings.

Several companies are researching earthquake-safe structural damping systems for skyscrapers, for example, by increasing the reinforcement of older tall buildings.

Note: ‘for example’ is used to provide examples in a clause. If the example clause does not contain a subject and verb, it is a dependent clause and must connect with the independent clause using commas.

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