Sentences fragments are a common error that can be fixed by making sure a sentence has a complete subject and a complete verb. There are three common sentence errors you can watch out for when proofing your writing.
Sentences that omit the subject are fragments and can be fixed by inserting a noun. For example, the fragment "Always leaves her backpack behind" is a fragment that does not specify who leaves her backpack behind. Adding the noun "Jenny" gives you a complete sentence: "Jenny always leaves her backpack behind."
When verbs or verb phrases are used as modifiers, it is possible to omit the actual verb from a sentence. For example, "Students studying for the exam" is a sentence fragment even though it contains the verb "studying." In this case, "studying" modifies the students. To fix the fragment, you need to add an additional verb that tells what the studying students are doing. In the sentence "Students studying for the exam will pass easily," the verb phrase "will pass" explains the action of the studying students.
Similar to a verb used as a modifier, a preposition or conjunction can also create sentence fragments. For example, "After Jonathan bought steak" is a sentence fragment. The "after" indicates a relationship to a subject that is missing from this phrase. To complete the sentence, add a subject and verb that tells what occurs after buying the steak. "After Jonathan bought steak, he planned an elaborate meal."
Based in Los Angeles, Jana Sosnowski holds Master of Science in educational psychology and instructional technology, She has spent the past 11 years in education, primarily in the secondary classroom teaching English and journalism. Sosnowski has also worked as a curriculum writer for a math remediation program. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in print journalism from the University of Southern California.