Fragments and Run-ons

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Fragments and Run-ons

A sentence fragment, or incomplete sentence, is not a sentence, though sometimes it looks like one.

On Christmas morning, when she came to my room to wake me with a delectable slice of cheesecake and two scoops of vanilla ice cream. She wore a big smile.

Viewed alone, the fragment is easier to spot:

On Christmas morning, when she came to my room to wake me with a delectable slice of cheesecake and two scoops of vanilla ice cream.

Fragments are incomplete sentences. To tell if a sentence is incomplete—if it lacks a subject, for example—examine it outside of its paragraph.

Example:

As was the case with the aromatic sauna. everyone in there stared helplessly at the brilliant brunette. Even scientific Cinderella.

Here are the sentences alone:

As was the case with the aromatic sauna.
Everyone in there stared helplessly at the brilliant brunette.
Even scientific Cinderella.

Some sentences are so long, by the time we get to the end, we are unable to see
their incompleteness.

The starved Gazillionaire, having gulped two glassfuls of the cloyingly sweet
Nestles Quick, having done battle with the buttery basket of bagels, and having
tasted fresh-whipped cream as soft as a kiss.

Do not confuse a participial phrase with a complete sentence. (A participial phrase includes the participle and the object of the participle or any words modified by or related to the participle.

Benny, shaking like jelly as he walked to and from school each day, through
wind and rain.

Sentences without subjects are often incomplete:

Eating both the wrapper and the candy. Rebecca did that a lot.

Exercises. Sentence fragments
1. Bink Hammerstrom, wearing his loud new cowboy boots, which he purchased with his last paycheck.
2. It is wrong to kill another human being. Except Yankee fans.
3. Growing up with a mom who wears a thong is hard for a young person. Especially when she also dons a tutu.
4. Corey once licked the lobe of her ear. A gesture that earned him a brutal face-slap.
5. She is a fine woman. Someone you can depend on. No matter how many Celine Dion records she owns.
6. She also sent my friend Debra the same thing. Which had Debra’s mother frothing at the mouth.
7. I hated my neighborhood. Due to a confrontation over loud music with a head-case named Charles who lived in the basement of his apartment building.
8. There would have been no divorce. If it hadn’t been for my older brother Kareem, who happened to walk in and catch my father.
9. It turns out that Saul and his girlfriend were offered money. And were moved into a witness protection program for testifying against Dag.
10. If they are unhappy in their marriages, they will have a temporarily joyful fling. Like Myrtle who looked to Tom as a way to escape her husband.

Run-on Sentences.

Run-on sentences are improperly joined independent clauses. An independent clause is a group of words that could stand alone as a sentence. When you’ve got two independent clauses in the same sentence, you must join them, with a coordinating conjunction or a semi-colon. There are two kinds of run-ons: a fused sentence (when two independent clauses run together without punctuation), and a comma splice (when two independent clauses are joined with a comma.

A fused sentence:

I kissed her neck I spilt my drink in her lap.

Fix #1:

I kissed her neck, and I spilt my drink in her lap.

Fix #2:

I kissed her neck; I spilt my drink in her lap.

A comma splice:

In the fall, ducks fly south, I go to Macy’s.

Fix #1:

In the fall, ducks fly south; I go to Macy’s.

Fix # 2:

In the fall, ducks fly south, and I go to Macy’s.

Examples:
1. There was one reason my head got stuck, someone had painted the wall with glue.

2. I’m going to count to three, and if you’re not doing homework I call off your birthday party okay, I’m going to count to three again.

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