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Fix Your Grammar: 'Sentence Fragments'

Updated: Nov 24

Sentence fragments represented by two interlocking jigsaw pieces.

Introduction - Fix your English grammar

Ewan Schmidt, in his essay Every Day Carless 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.

However, in more formal writing, such as 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 or 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.

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.


So, I hope with this article that it has helped you to recognise the first of these fragments and you have learned how to rewrite/rephrase them to fix your English grammar in order to write better sentences.

You can go on to read about other kinds of fragments in this set of blog articles.

Finally, if you enjoyed this article, please share it on your socials with your friends. It's easy: just copy the URL and post.

(c) Apex English Tutoring Dec 2020 - Updated Nov 2023

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About the Author

Michael Finemore, MA (Research) CQU, TEFL/TESOL Certificate, an experienced English Teacher, is the Owner-Operator of Apex English Tutoring.

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