Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Finding and fixing fragments

Once a student is pretty good at identifying the subjects and verbs in clauses and sentences, he or she should be quite well on the way to writing only in complete sentences. Should be! But we can't count on it! Students these days are surrounded by sentence fragments - in casual speech, on television (just listen to those news- and weather-forecasters - yikes!), everywhere!

If you notice that your child's writing grades have been slipping, this might be one thing to look for - and help him or her learn to find and fix any fragments before turning in written work.

Fragments are in bold:

Maria wasn't watching her plate of barbecue very carefully. Santana, the family beagle, snatched a chicken leg hanging over the edge. As baked beans and potato salad slid onto Maria's new sandals.

James opened the door of his cluttered refrigerator. Which caused a pint of blueberries to fall to the floor. The fruit bounced and rolled everywhere in an explosion of indigo.

Chewing the dry, tough, whole-grain bread bought from the health food store. Lorena tried to enjoy her lunch. Fantasizing about a juicy cheeseburger on a soft white bun didn't improve the taste of the soy product sandwiched between leaves of organic lettuce.

(from Grammar Bytes - Exercises)

If your child has been well trained to find the verbs and subjects in clauses and sentences (especially in his or her own writing assignments), then identifying each of those fragments should be easy. Each of those fragments above is missing at least one of the main elements of a complete sentence and/or has an introductory word indicating that the fragment can be fixed easily by simply attaching it to the sentence before or after it.

Questions? Post in the comments here.

No comments: