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Fragments, Run-Ons, and Comma Splices

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Andrew Olson

on 20 July 2014

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Transcript of Fragments, Run-Ons, and Comma Splices

Fragments, Run-Ons, and Comma Splices
Fragments
A sentence fragment is a group of words that cannot stand alone as a complete sentence. A fragment is missing a subject, predicate, or does not express a complete thought. In short, a fragment is less than a sentence.
Many times, a phrase or a clause is punctuated as a sentence, even though it cannot stand as a complete sentence.
Fragment 1: Phrases
Remember that phrases cannot stand alone as sentences because they lack a subject or predicate (or both).

Again, a phrase may be punctuated as a sentence, even though it cannot stand alone.
A big house.

A very interesting lecture.

Between the sidewalk and road.

Drenched in sweat.

Running laps during practice.

Fragment 2: Clauses
Another common fragment occurs when a subordinating (dependent) clause is punctuated as a sentence.

Subordinate clauses do contain subjects and verbs, but do not express a complete thought.

Because Jenny dropped her pencil.

Although Chance was late to class.

Before Mr. O gave the lecture.

Who listened carefully in class.

Where one can learn easily.
Fragments 3: Additional Details
Fragments 4: -ing and to
When -ing or to appears at or near the beginning of a word group, it may end up being a fragment. Remember that a verb + something else (-ing, -ed, -d) = a participle, and an infinitive = to + verb. These two words groups are common types of fragments when not punctuated correctly.

Kim slept on the couch all night.
Hoping Santa would come
.

To attract diners
. The restaurant put up a new sign.

Running around the football field until they heard the screech of the whistle.

To make an A on the grammar quiz.
Run-On Sentences
Run-on sentences are the opposite of fragments. They are more than a sentence because they combine two independent clauses without appropriate words or punctuation. They are also called fused sentences.

Test anxiety is common among students.
Some symptoms are nausea and headaches.

Test anxiety is common among students some symptoms are nausea and headaches. = a fused or run-on sentence.

Test anxiety is common among students, and some
symptoms are nausea and headaches.
Fix a Run-on
There are three main ways to fix a run-on sentence:

1) Divide the run-on into two separate sentences.

2) Put a comma plus a joining word between the two independent clauses.

3) Use subordination to make one of the independent clauses into a dependent clause, so that it will work with the main clause to form a complete sentence.
Fixing a Run-On
The patient's blood pressure was low his temperature was low as well. = fused/run-on sentence

1) The patient's blood pressure was low. His temperature was low as well.

2) The patient's blood pressure was low, and his temperature was low as well.

3) Because the patient's blood pressure was low, his temperature was low as well.

Comma Splices
A comma splice occurs when two or more independent clauses are linked with only a comma.
While the "pause" may be located in the correct place, independent clauses need to be separated by more than a comma.

My alarm clock rang, I quickly jumped out of bed.

Kelly received a speeding ticket, she was late to class.
Fixing Comma Splices
You can fix a comma splice the same way you would fix a run-on sentence. You can divide the two independent clauses into separate sentences. You can add a joining word, such as a coordinating conjunction, or you can add a subordinating conjunction. EX:
My alarm clock rang, I quickly jumped out of bed.

My alarm clock rang. I quickly jumped out of bed.
My alarm clock rang, and I quickly jumped out of bed.
Because my alarm clock rang, I quickly jumped out of bed.
Many times a student will add details to a sentence he or she just wrote without making sure the second "sentence" is a complete one.

Example: Grammar can be a difficult topic to learn. Especially phrases, clauses, and complete sentence construction.

Although our brains automatically fill-in the information to understand what the second "sentence" intends to say, it is not a complete sentence. When taken out of context, the sentence does not make sense; it's a fragment:
Especially phrases, clauses, and complete sentence construction.

Mr. O enjoys both old and new school rock.
Such as Cream, Led Zepplin, The White Stripes and Social Distortion.

As an attendee of nearly three hundred concerts, Mr. O has seen all kinds musical performers.
For example, Wu-Tang Clan, Snoop Dogg, Chevelle, Korn, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Willie Nelson, and Pink Floyd among may others.
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