The EFC Writer – FRAGMENTS

 

Welcome to the EFC Writer — a series of quick, easily digestible writing tips based on some stuff EFC Services editor Melissa Ruiz is seriously annoyed you’re still doing (or not doing, as the case may be).  

 

TODAY’S TOPIC: EVIL, EVIL FRAGMENTS (SORT OF)

Remember all those conversations we’ve been having about independent and dependent clauses? It turns out I actually had a reason for filling your head with all that stuff, and here it is: YOU’RE WRITING TOO MANY SENTENCE FRAGMENTS. Stop it, okay?

FRAGMENTS are incomplete sentences, that is, sentences that are missing either a subject, verb, or complete thought. Fix sentence fragments with a bit of clever punctuation, a few more words, or even another sentence. Let’s look at some examples:

Donna wants to remember. But can’t.  The fragment is obvious, right? Check out this easy fix: Donna wants to remember but can’t. Problem solved! 

The Doctor likes food. For example, jammy dodgers and fish fingers with custard. Can you fix this one? Try this: The Doctor likes food, especially jammy dodgers and fish fingers with custard.

 

FOR GRAMMAR GEEKS:

Listen, guys. I know fragments can be cool sometimes. They’re especially awesome in scenes with a lot of dialogue, especially if your character stammers or has a stutter. PLEASE BE CAREFUL, though. There’s a fine line between intentional fragment use and thinking you don’t need to use the rules of grammar because you’re just a naturally talented writer. You can’t compose a symphony without learning to play the instruments, you can’t be a chess master without first learning how each piece moves, and you can’t be the next Shakespeare unless you know the basic rules of grammar. So. Use fragments in moderation (mainly in dialogue), and don’t ever, EVER use them in formal or technical writing. Please? For me?

MERRIAM-WEBSTER DEFINITION:

fragment

noun frag·ment \ˈfrag-mənt\
: a broken part or piece of something

: an incomplete part

Full Definition of FRAGMENT

:  a part broken off, detached, or incomplete

 

Resources/Further Reading: Grammar & Style at Your Fingertips by Lara M. Robbins

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