Sentence Fragments

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complete sentence expresses a full and independent thought, and contains both a subject and a verb. A fragment is an expression that lacks either a subject or a verb, or that begins with a subordinating word like becausewhenifsincewhilealthough) or who or which. Many fragments are missing a subject, verb, or part of a verb. Here are a few examples:
  • Had trouble starting the car.) Missing a subject
  • Henry, the dog with the black patch over one eye. Missing a verb
  • Rain falling all day. Missing the helping part of the verb
  • My brother, who is an expert skier. Missing a verb
One trick for identifying sentence fragments is to insert the phrase "It is true that..." at the beginning, and see if it makes sense. As an example, consider the following: Because it is hot today. Is this a complete sentence? If you instead express it as It is true that because it is hot today, it is clear that this is a fragment. The only real exception to the “It is true that” test is a command. For example: Sit down. This is a sentence, despite not making sense as It is true that sit down. Remember that a command has an unstated subject (often you).