When you evaluate and revise a piece of writing, watch for obstacles to clarity. Two of these obstacles are sentence fragments and run-on sentences.
Sentence Fragment – an incomplete sentence lacking a subject and verb, or a dependent clause punctuated as a sentence; even though a fragment begins with a capital letter and ends with a period, it cannot stand alone.
Examples of Sentence Fragments:
Missing Subject: Running down the street.
Missing Verb: The driver of the speed boat.
Missing both subject and verb: In the middle of the night.
Incomplete thought: On the school steps I saw Alice. Waiting for her mother to pick her up.
Ways to Revise:
1. Attach the fragment to the sentence that comes before or after it.
Example: On the school steps I saw Alice waiting for her mother to pick her up.
2. Add the elements of the complete sentence that are missing. (subject, verb, or both)
Example: On the school steps I saw Alice. She was waiting for her mother to pick her up.
Run-On Sentence – A run-on sentence is two or more complete sentences incorrectly joined; there are two types of run-on sentences: the fused sentence and the comma splice.
♦ Fused Sentence - two independent clauses or sentences run together with
Example: This car is dirty we will wash it.
♦ Comma Splice - two or more complete thoughts separated by just a comma
Example: We hiked for three days, we were very tired.
Ways to Revise:
1. Make two sentences.
Examples: This car is dirty. We will wash it.
We hiked for three days. We were very tired.
2. Add a comma and coordinating conjunction – for, and, but, nor, yet, so.
Examples: This car is dirty, so we will wash it.
We hiked for three days, so we were very tired
3. Add a semicolon when both thoughts are closely related.
Examples: This car is dirty; we will wash it.
We hiked for three days; we were very tired.
4. Change one independent clause to a dependent clause.
Examples: Since the car is dirty, we will wash it.
Since we hiked for three days, we were very tired.
Assignment I: Rewrite these sentence fragments so that they are complete sentences.
1. After six years in Phoenix. The family moved to Pennsylvania where they hoped to prosper.
2. She could do the algebra problems easily. But could not explain them to me.
3. Tonight it’s my turn. A ride along with Sergeant Rob Nether of the Green Valley Police Department.
4. My sister trained hard. To become a lifeguard.
5. Another figure of the Old West Andrew Garcia, tells of similar exploits in his autobiography, Trip Through Paradise.
6. And then the movie began. After the projector was fixed.
7. Last night on TV. My family watched a repeat of The X-Files.
Assignment II: Correct this comma splice in four different ways:
Clara Barton became famous for her work in hospitals during the Civil War, she founded the American Red Cross in 1881.
Correct this run-on/fused sentence four different ways:
The choice of a good digital camera is difficult there are many good ones on the market.
Assignment III: Revise all Fragments and Run-on so that they are complete and correct sentences. Add any missing information necessary to make the sentences complete. Also, identify the groups of words as:
Fragment (F) Comma Splice (CS) Fused Sentence (FS)
Example: _F_ Before the parade. We were excited before the parade.
____The boss and her assistant. Needed extra help.
____Our neighbor mows the lawn early in the morning, he cleans his pool
____Going into the cellar when the tornado siren goes off.
____The American flag is passing in the parade, we need to stand.
____We went camping. At the end of May.
____One of my friends from drama class starred in a Broadway musical, it
won an award.
____We need help this table is too heavy.
8. ____Lightning speeds tour eyes at 186,000 miles per second thunder
creeps to our ears at 1,087 feet per second.
9. ____Drug traffickers kill to protect or seize drug turf, almost half the murders
in Baltimore were drug related.
10.____ Her watch was not running so she had no idea how long the interview
11.____ European armies usually fought on open plains, the tactics of
ambushing and attacking from the rear were little used.
12.____The word “limb” had to be used instead of leg or arm even a reference
to the “leg” of a chair was considered impolite.
13.____ Last Friday night, our football team won the big game. But our
quarterback was injured.
14.____ Janice does not like when relatives invite themselves to her house.
Because it is an inconvenience.
15. ____ If it rains on Wednesday we will not be able to go to Sedona.