ESL Writing

Sentence Fragments

In this ESL writing lesson, the common error of sentence fragments is introduced, and students have a chance to practice rewriting sentence fragments as complete sentences

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Sentence Fragments: Introduction


When you write, you need to avoid sentence fragments. A “fragment” is a “piece” of something, so a sentence fragment is just a piece of a sentence – not a complete sentence.



A complete sentence should have a subject (what is the sentence about?) and a predicate (what does the subject do?). The subject is usually a noun, and the predicate always has a verb. In the examples below, the subjects are boldface and the predicates are underlined.



  • Because I was tired. (sentence fragment)
  • I went to sleep because I was tired. (complete sentence)
  • The trip that we went on last summer. (sentence fragment)
  • The trip that we went on last summer was fun. (complete sentence)
  • And bought a lot of vegetables. (sentence fragment)
  • Jan went to the grocery store and bought a lot of vegetables. (complete sentence)




Read the sentences and fragments below. If it is a complete sentence, write “C”. If it is a sentence fragment, write “F”. (See page 76 for answers.)



1. _____ But I didn’t have time.

2. _____ Everyone I know.

3. _____ I have a cat.

4. _____ The most beautiful girl in the world.

5. _____ My car is too old.

6. _____ We played tennis after school yesterday.

7. _____ Before we woke up on Saturday morning.

8. _____ The dog that I found on the side of the road.

9. _____ Max found a wallet.

10. _____ Sitting on the purple chair.



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