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Topic 3: How to fix a Sentence Fragment

As you could probably tell from the examples of dependent clauses/sentence fragments on the previous page, sentence fragments do not make a lot of sense. The flip side of this difficulty is that sentence fragments are really easy to spot when you know what you are looking for (like you do now!)

But what can we do to fix these confusing clauses?

Options for Fixing Sentence Fragments

Hover over the cards below to see options for revising sentence fragments.

If you want to keep the dependent clause dependent:

Attach the sentence fragment to a complete sentence that is close by

If you want to change the clause itself from dependent to independent:

Add whatever part of speech the clause is missing (either subject, verb, or object)

  • Incorrect: I was not able to complete my first assignment. Because I forgot to buy my textbook.
  • Correct: I was not able to complete my first assignment because I forgot to buy my textbook.

In the above, the dependent clause “Because I forgot to buy my textbook” is tied to the independent clause, making a proper sentence.

  • Incorrect: When the textbook arrived. (A subject and verb is missing!) 
  • Correct: I was finally able to start on my assignment when the textbooks arrived.

And in these two sentences, the dependent clause is made independent by adding a subject and a verb.

Your Turn: Test Your Understanding!