Identifying Sentence Fragment and Ways to Avoid It

How to escape sentence fragments? Learn how to fix this common grammar error and achieve a high-quality, logical, and well-structured written output.


Writing a flawless 3,000-word essay at once is close to impossible. It is a fact that even professionals can’t deny. Non-native English speakers, native English speakers, students, and professionals can commit grammar and spelling mistakes from time to time. But the good thing is there are ways to fix this problem and learn from these errors.

One of the most common grammar errors that even some writers are guilty of committing is a sentence fragment. As a fact, some even fail to recognize and tend to overlook this mistake. But of course, it can’t escape the sharp eyes of a pedant. If you are one of these individuals who are guilty of frequently making this grammar error, here are the things you need to know.

Getting to Know Sentence Fragment

Dictionaries define fragments as pieces. A sentence fragment is an incomplete sentence. These are pieces of sentences that are disconnected from the primary clause. These sentences lack either a subject or verb. Hence, they do not express a complete thought. As a result, they tend to confuse and mislead readers.

An example of a sentence fragment is this: Sings sweetly like a nightingale.

The example sentence is not complete. It has a verb and adjective but has no subject. Remember that a complete sentence consists of a subject, verb, and predicate. The absence of these elements renders the sentence incomplete since it does not convey a complete thought.

How to Distinguish a Sentence Fragment

It is quite easy to spot a sentence fragment. However, if it is challenging to do so, here are the distinguishing characteristics of a sentence fragment that you should know.

  • The clause is missing a subject.
  • The clause has no verb or uses the wrong verb form.
  • The clause is abandoned.
  • Inappropriate use of “for example, especially, such as, etc.”
  • The phrase is entirely separated from the main clause. Also, known as a leftover phrase.

How to Correct Sentence Fragment         

The easiest and most effective method of correcting sentence fragments is proofreading. Going over your written output before submitting allows you to spot mistakes you’ve missed. Likewise, professionals suggest proofreading your output thrice or even more. Also, working your way up from the bottom is more effective than starting at the beginning when proofreading. Though awkward and unusual, this method proves effective in spotting critical grammar errors such as sentence fragments. Once you find the mistakes, make sure to revise them immediately.

Professionals suggest attaching the fragment to a nearby complete sentence. Doing so connects the incomplete thought to the main clause, thereby making it comprehensible. Furthermore, be conscious when writing your essay. Check if the sentence is missing a subject, a verb, or an object.

Using grammar tools also helps in correcting sentence fragments as well as other common grammar errors. You can find a wide variety of sentence fragment checker online that offers free services. However, make sure to use one that is trustworthy and works with professional and reliable editors.

Lastly, practice writing all the time. Write short essays or stories to improve your writing skills.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *