Introduction to Fragments


Remember the basic sentence? A basic sentence has a subject, verb, and other details that express a complete thought.

A fragment is anything less than a complete sentence. It cannot stand alone. A fragment often ends with a period even though the word group is missing all the required parts that complete sentences should have.

Fragments are missing one or more the following parts:


The video will show subjects underlined once in purple and verbs underlined twice in green. These colors and lines can help you think through the parts of the word group. Watch to see how color-coding can help you find fragments.

Download transcript.


The following examples show you how to find and correct fragments using a checklist approach. Like color-coding, the checklist is a strategy you can use to find fragments as you take quizzes and proofread your own work.


See the full-size image.

Does the word group Celeste found a cat have the following parts?


See the full-size image.

So, Celeste found a cat has all the parts of a complete sentence. If you gave Celeste’s roommate a note that said, “Celeste found a cat,” the roommate would understand the message. This word group is not a fragment.

Does the word group Which she promptly took home have the following parts?


See the full-size image.

Which she promptly took home is, therefore, a fragment. The subject, verb, and details do not express a complete thought that can stand alone.

image Figuring out if a word group can stand alone is tricky, and thinking about Celeste’s roommate won’t always help. In the study pages, look for a tip about using I realize.

Most fragments continue the previous sentence. The easiest way to correct a fragment is to attach it to the sentence that comes before it.


See the full-size image.

If you gave Celeste’s roommate a note that said, “Celeste found a cat, which she promptly took home,” the roommate would clearly understand the message. She might not be happy about it, but she would understand it.


The study pages examine different types of fragments. No matter the type, fragments are missing subjects, verbs, and/or the details that form complete thoughts and can stand alone. Keep the similarities in mind while you learn about the differences.

Also, as read you through the study pages and then practice with LearningCurve, use the color-coding strategy, the checklist, and the I realize test to explain the examples to yourself. You’ll get more out of studying if you try to apply one or more of these strategies.

Checking for complete sentences will help you identify and correct fragments for the post-test and in your own writing. Checking for complete sentences will also help you with other units in LaunchPad Solo for Readers and Writers.

Don’t forget to work smartly!