Fragments, Run-ons and Comma Splices
Getting Rid of Fragments
There are two kinds of clauses – independent and dependent. A dependent clause has a subject and verb just like an independent clause, but it can’t stand alone because it begins with a dependent word such as
after that, so that
although, though unless
as, as if until
because what, whatever
before when, whenever
even though where, wherever
if, even if which, whichever
in order that while
since who, whom
Whenever a clause begins with one of the above dependent words, it is dependent. If we take an independent clause such as
We finished the ...view middle of the document...
(We added an independent clause)
The announcement that we had expected finally came. (We added a verb for the independent clause)
Each word group in the student paragraph below is numbered. Write C if a word group is a complete sentence; write F if it is a fragment.
1. I’m starting to think that there is no safe place left. 2. To ride a bicycle. 3. When I try to ride on the highway, in order to go to school. 4. I feel like a rabbit being pursued by predators. 5. Drivers whip past me at high speeds. 6. And try to see how close they can get to my bike without actually killing me. 7. When they pull onto the shoulder of the road or make a right turn. 8. Drivers completely ignore my vehicle. 9. On city streets, I feel more like a cockroach than a rabbit. 10. Drivers in the city despise bicycles. 11. Regardless of an approaching bike rider. 12. Street-side car doors will unexpectedly open. 13. Frustrated drivers who are stuck in traffic will make nasty comments. 14. Or shout out obscene propositions. 15. Even pedestrians in the city show their disregard for me. 16. While jaywalking across the street. 17. The pedestrian will treat me, a law-abiding bicyclist, to a withering look of disdain. 18. Pedestrians may even cross my path deliberately. 19. As if to prove their higher position in the pecking order of the city streets. 20. Today, bicycling can be hazardous to the rider’s health.
Underline the two fragments in each selection that follows. Then make whatever changes are needed to turn the fragments into sentences.
1. We both began to tire. As we passed the halfway mark in the race. But whenever I heard Jim’s footsteps behind me. I pumped my legs a little faster.
2. I have a few phobias. Such as fear of heights and fear of dogs. My ultimate nightmare is to be trapped in a hot-air balloon. With three German Shepherds.
3. Dom passed the computer school’s aptitude test. Which qualifies him for nine months of training. Dom kidded that anyone could be accepted. If he had four thousand dollars.
4. Punching all the buttons on his radio in sequence. Phil kept looking for a good song. He was in the mood to cruise down the highway. And sing at the top of his voice.
5. I noticed two cartons of cigarettes. Sticking up out of my neighbor’s trash bag. I realized he had made up his mind. To give up smoking for the fifth time this year.
Getting rid of Run-ons and Comma Splices
A run-on sentence occurs when two or more main clauses are joined without a coordinating conjunction and without punctuation.
The girls made the fire the boys cooked the steaks.
The book was interesting therefore I read it rapidly.
A comma splice occurs when two or more main clauses are joined with a comma, but without a coordinating conjunction.
The girls made the fire, the boys cooked the steaks.
The book was interesting, therefore I read it rapidly.
You can correct run-ons and comma...