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SENTENCE FRAGMENTS AND RUN-ONS

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					                                                         Adapted from the OWL at Purdue Website
SENTENCE FRAGMENTS AND RUN-ONS

Sentence Fragments

Fragments are incomplete sentences. Usually, fragments are pieces of sentences that
have become disconnected from the main clause. One of the easiest ways to correct
them is to remove the period between the fragment and the main clause. Other kinds of
punctuation may be needed for the newly combined sentence.

Below are some examples with the fragments shown in red. Punctuation and/or words
added to make corrections are highlighted in blue. Notice that the fragment is
frequently a dependent clause or long phrase that follows the main clause.


Fragment (phrase or dependent
                                        Possible Revision
clause)

Purdue offers many majors in
                                        Purdue offers many majors in
engineering. Such as electrical,
                                        engineering, such as electrical,
chemical, and industrial
                                        chemical, and industrial engineering.
engineering.

Coach Dietz exemplified this
                                        Coach Dietz exemplified this
behavior by walking off the field in
                                        behavior by walking off the field in
the middle of a game. Leaving her
                                        the middle of a game, leaving her
team at a time when we needed
                                        team at a time when we needed her.
her.

I need to find a new roommate.          I need to find a new roommate
Because the one I have now isn't        because the one I have now isn't
working out too well.                   working out too well.

The current city policy on housing      Because the current city policy on
is incomplete as it stands. Which is    housing is incomplete as it stands,
why we believe the proposed             we believe the proposed
amendments should be passed.            ammendments should be passed.


You may have noticed that newspaper and magazine journalists often use a dependent
clause as a separate sentence when it follows clearly from the preceding main clause, as
in the last example above. This is a conventional journalistic practice, often used for
emphasis. For academic writing and other more formal writing situations, however, you
should avoid such journalistic fragment sentences.

Some fragments are not clearly pieces of sentences that have been left unattached to
the main clause; they are written as main clauses but lack a subject or main verb.


Fragment (incomplete main              Possible Revisions
                                                          Adapted from the OWL at Purdue Website

clause)

                                      Appositive: Gilman's "The Yellow
                                      Wallpaper," a story with deep
No main verb
                                      thoughts and emotions, has
     A story with deep thoughts
                                      impressed critics for decades.
     and emotions.
                                      Direct object: She told a story with
                                      deep thoughts and emotions.

                                      Complete verb: Toys of all kinds were
Toys of all kinds thrown              thrown everywhere.
everywhere.                           Direct object: They found toys of all
                                      kinds thrown everywhere.

                                      Direct object: I've noticed a record
                                      of accomplishment beginning when
A record of accomplishment
                                      you were first hired.
beginning when you were first
                                      Main verb: A record of
hired.
                                      accomplishment began when you
                                      were first hired.

No subject
                                      Remove preposition: The ultimate
     With the ultimate effect of
                                      effect of all advertising is to sell the
     all advertising is to sell the
                                      product.
     product.

By paying too much attention to       Remove preposition: Paying too much
polls can make a political leader     attention to polls can make a political
unwilling to propose innovative       leader unwilling to propose innovative
policies.                             policies.

                                      Remove preposition: Doing freelance
For doing freelance work for a        work for a competitor got Phil fired.
competitor got Phil fired.            Rearrange: Phil got fired for doing
                                      freelance work for a competitor.


These last three examples of fragments with no subjects are also known as mixed
constructions, that is, sentences constructed out of mixed parts. They start one way
(often with a long prepositional phrase) but end with a regular predicate. Usually the
object of the preposition (often a gerund, as in the last two examples) is intended as the
subject of the sentence, so removing the preposition at the beginning is usually the
easiest way to edit such errors.
                                                      Adapted from the OWL at Purdue Website
Comma Splices, Run-ons, and Fused Sentences

The above are all names given to compound sentences that are not punctuated
correctly. The best way to avoid such errors is to punctuate compound sentences
correctly by using one or the other of these rules.

1. Join the two independent clauses with one of the coordinating conjunctions (and, but,
for, or, nor, so, yet), and use a comma before the connecting word.

_________________________, and _________________________.

(He enjoys walking through the country, and he often goes backpacking on his
vacations.)

2. When you do not have a connecting word (or when you use a connecting word other
than and, but, for, or nor, so, or yet between the two independent clauses) use a
semicolon (;).

__________________________;_____________________________.

(He often watched TV when there were only reruns; she preferred to read instead.)

or a subordinating conjuction

__________________________; however,____________________.

(He often watched TV when there were only reruns; however, she preferred to read
instead.)

So, run-ons and fused sentences are terms describing two independent clauses which
are joined together with no connecting word or punctuation to separate the clauses.

Incorrect: They weren't dangerous criminals they were detectives in disguise.
Correct: They weren't dangerous criminals; they were detectives in disguise.

Incorrect: I didn't know which job I wanted I was too confused to decide.
Correct: I didn't know which job I wanted, so I was too confused to decide.
                                        Adapted from the OWL at Purdue Website
SENTENCE FRAGMENTS AND RUN-ONS: EXERCISE 1

The sentences below appeared in papers written by students. Act as their editor,
marking a C if the sentences in the group are all complete and an F if any of the
sentences in the group is a fragment or run-on. Then correct the sentences.

____ 1. Then I attended Morris Junior High. A junior high that was a bad experience.

____ 2. The scene was filled with beauty. Such as the sun sending its brilliant rays to
the earth and the leaves of various shades of red, yellow, and brown moving slowly in
the wind.

____ 3. He talked for fifty minutes without taking his eyes off his notes. Like other
teachers in that department, he did not encourage students' questions.

____ 4. Within each group, a wide range of features to choose from. It was difficult to
distinguish between them.

____ 5. A few of the less serious fellows would go into a bar for a steak dinner and a few
glasses of beer. After this meal, they were ready for anything.

____ 6. It can be really embarrassing to be so emotional. Especially when you are on
your first date, you feel that you should be in control.

____ 7. I love this film it is really exceptionally edited.

____ 8. They went camping last week, they camped at the foot of the mountain.

____ 9. He has already gone to the store, but he hasn’t bought any bread.

____ 10. The trash was strewn across the street. Which created a messy environment.

____ 11. Riding his bicycle across the lawn. He crushed all the fresh green grass under
his tires, he didn’t care about his neighbors.

____ 12. The teacher wrote words all over the chalkboard, she covered it with her notes
and markings until no space remained and this confused the already lost students.

				
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