Sentence fragments

Video: Sentence Fragments, with Shaun Macleod from Smrt English (new tab). (Watching time: 2m:20secs)

Complete the quiz items below to see if you have understood this lesson. Then click the blue arrow at the bottom of the page to check your answers.

Instructions: Hover or tap the questions below to see the reason for the answers given in the quiz.

1. Identify the only incomplete sentence below.
❍ While you are the last person I was expecting to see, I'm glad you are here.
❍ I can see the point of it all, even if I don't agree.
❍ I want to see how much you will subjugate yourself for the sake of fame.
❍ While I am able to see your perspective.

While I am able to see your perspective
Why: The sentence leaves the reader wondering "While I am able to see your perspective...[what?] " The word "while" marks this clause as dependent, so it needs an independent clause, but there isn't one there, so it is a sentence fragment (or incomplete sentence).

2. Below is a sentence fragment. Choose the word or phrase from the list which can be used to complete it.
... because it is how she plays on her own that matters.
❍ Getting on with others is not important,...
❍ However, ...
❍ Being alone, ...
❍ When she's alone ...

Getting on with others is not important, ...
Why: The clause in the task is dependent (we can see that because it starts with "because"), and so it needs an independent clause to make it complete. There is only one independent clause in this list. It is the one with the main verb → is.

3. Identify which of the following are dependent clause markers.
therefore Dependent clause marker: Yes ❍   No ❍
until Yes ❍ No ❍
as Yes ❍ No ❍
because Yes ❍ No ❍
if Yes ❍ No ❍

No: therefore
Yes: until | as | because | if
Why: If you begin a sentence with any of the words on the list (except therefore) the reader is left dangling unless you add an independent clause. For example: * Because I don't like cake...[what?] * | * If you come ...[what?] * | * As a student...[what?] * | * Until next time...[what?] * But with therefore there is not problem: Therefore, I'll say nothing.

4. True or false.
A sentence can have more than one independent clause.

Why: A sentence can have more than one independent clause, but usually such clauses would be joined in some way (for example, with a conjunction and/or appropriate punctuation).