Grammar Quest—Run on Sentences & Fragments
A sentence should, by definition, express a complete thought; however, a sentence can, in reality, contain several ideas or thoughts. The challenge in writing good sentences is to structure a clear and interesting sentence that says exactly what you mean to say.
Fragments and run-on sentences are two common sentence structure errors. A fragment is a group of words that is used as a sentence, but it is not a sentence. Fragments usually lack a subject or verb.
Fragment: Though it was fine to go. (This sentence is missing a subject.)
Sentence: The bus driver thought it was fine to go.
Fragment: Laughing and scooping up the disheveled papers. (This sentence is missing a subject.)
Sentence: The couple was laughing and scooping up the disheveled papers that blew through the park.
Fragment: Eddie, the intelligent new student. (This sentence is missing a verb.)
Sentence: Eddie, the intelligent new student, was willing to help me with Chemistry.
A run- on sentence is two sentences joined without the appropriate punctuation or a connecting word.
I was so afraid of the spook alley that was deathly scary I didn’t want to go in. (run-on sentence)
I was so afraid of the spook alley because it was deathly scary. I didn’t want to go in.
I was so afraid of the spook alley. It was deathly scary, and I didn’t want to go in.
Note: When you are writing dialogue, fragments are not mistakes. This is usually how we talk and therefore, appropriate when writing dialogue.