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How to fix your fragments

Are people complaining that your sentences are not complete? Do you want to improve your English skills? If you answered “yes” to both questions, you are in the right place! After this text you will know how to fix your fragments!

A sentence fragment is when a sentence is not complete. For a sentence to be complete, it must have a subject and a conjugated verb. This is called an independent clause. It can also require a complement which follows the verb if it cannot stand on its own.

X Charlie is.

Charlie is nice.

I left.


Certain words are meant to be followed. When the sentence is said out loud, it feels as if an information is missing. These are called dependant clause.

X Because the party was too boring.

X In order to get to school on time.


With both of those fragments, the reader is left in the dark about what the person did.

However, if the writer adds a subject and a verb, it is now a complete sentence.

I left because the party was too boring.

In order to get to school on time, I ran.


Another category of words that cannot go in the beginning of a sentence in academic writing are the FANBOYS (for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so). This mistake can be corrected by adding another independent clause before the FANBOYS or by deleting the FANBOYS.

X And I came to the house.

I left, and I came back to the house.

I came to the house.

X But I was late to school.

I ran, but I was late to school.

I was late to school.


If you want to know more about FANBOYS, go to the Nota Bene archives, there is a whole post on the subject! A special thank you to Heather Davis for teaching us about grammar!

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