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Sentence Fragments

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Sentence fragments are incomplete sentences. They are often pieces of sentences that have been separated from the main clause by a full stop. The fragments do not make sense on their own.

There are two main types of sentence fragments:

  1. The fragment has no subject or verb
  • Running down the street.

Who is running down the street? We need to add a subject and an auxilliary (helping) verb, to make the fragment into a complete sentence.

Correction: The child was running down the street.

  1. The fragment adds extra information to the main sentence and often begins with which; it has a subject and a verb but does not make sense on its own. Sometimes, just the punctuation needs to be changed and a capital letter put into lower case.
  • The student had misunderstood the question and needed to rewrite her assignment. Which is why she was not at the party on Saturday night.

Correction: The student misunderstood the question and needed to rewrite her assignment, which is why she was not at the party on Saturday night.

 

  • When the concert had finished and the applause had died away. Everyone hurried out of the theatre and climbed into the waiting buses.

Correction: When the concert had finished and the applause had died away, everyone hurried out of the theatre and climbed into the waiting buses.

 

References

Silyn-Roberts, H. (1996). Writing for science: A practical handbook for science, engineering and technology students. Auckland, New Zealand: Longman.

Purdue OWL. (2011). Sentence fragments. Retrieved from http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/620/1/