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Fix Your Grammar: 'Sentence Fragments'

Updated: Feb 21

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Introduction - Fix your English grammar

Ewan Schmidt wrote an essay called Every Day Carless. In it, he argues for a downtown area free of motorized vehicles.

He writes:

"The downtown core is very quiet each Friday. There are no car horns. No screeching of the brakes. No yelling. No loud motor noises. Because there are no cars. People can walk anywhere they want without worrying about traffic. Even in the middle of the street."

The topic of this article is sentence fragments. And the parts in bold in the paragraph above show several examples.

What are sentence fragments?

An incomplete sentence is a fragment. It lacks either a subject or verb, or it fails to express a complete thought.

Newspaper headlines and advertisements often contain fragments.

‘Economy a Mess’ or ‘Weight Loss Overnight’.

When you are writing a text message you may save time by writing in fragments. And that is OK.

But if you have to write more formally it's different. For college or university essays or job application letters, it is not acceptable to write fragments.

Here is another example:

Sentence: I am going to the movies tomorrow.

Fragment: At the new cinema complex in the city centre.

As you can see, the fragment is missing a verb and a subject.

So how to correct fragments?

You can do two things:

  • add a verb and a subject

  • join the two sentences

Let us join the sentences first.

I am going to the movies tomorrow at the new cinema complex in the city centre.

And by adding a verb and a subject:

There is a new cinema complex in the city centre.


I will be going to the new cinema complex in the city centre.

Other Kinds of Fragments

There are three other kinds of fragments and I will cover them in future articles.

These include:

  • ‘dependent clause’ fragments

  • explanatory fragments

  • fragments that begin with gerunds


I hope this article has helped you to recognise the first type of these fragments.

And you have learned how to rewrite/rephrase them to fix your English grammar.

The aim? To help you write better sentences.

Why then, does Ewan Schmidt get away with writing fragments? He's a famous writer. And he is doing it for creative effect.

Further Reading

You can go on to read about other aspects of grammar in this set of blog articles.

Having good grammar should be an essential skill to getting good English. Read this article to learn why having good grammar is very important.

© Apex English Tutoring Dec 2020 - Updated January 2024

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About Me

Hello and welcome!

My name is Michael Finemore and I am the owner-operator of Apex English Tutoring.

As an experienced English Teacher, I'm passionate about helping people turn their 'poor' English into great English, with easy and effective ways to practice.

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