Difference Between Fragment and Sentence

Main Difference –  Fragment vs  Sentence

Fragments, also known as sentence fragments are usually considered to be errors in written language. This is because they do not contain a complete thought. A group of words that do not convey a complete thought cannot be considered as a sentence and neither can they stand alone. Thus, sentence fragments should always be corrected in writing so that they carry complete thought and resemble complete sentences. The main difference between fragment and sentence is that sentence carries a complete thought whereas fragment does not.

This article explains, 

1. What is a Sentence? – Structure, Components and Features

2. What is a Fragment? – Structure, Components and Features

3. Difference Between Sentence and FragmentDifference Between Fragment and Sentence - Fragment vs Sentence Comparison Summary

What is a Sentence

A sentence is a group of words that expresses a complete thought. It contains a subject and a predicate. A sentence can be as short as two words, but it can also be as long as a whole paragraph as well. A sentence can be categorized into several types depending on their structure.

Simple Sentence: A sentence that contains a single independent clause

Ex:

He ate rice.

The boy ran fast.

Heather did not go to school on Wednesday.

Complex Sentence:  A sentence that contains one independent clause and at least one dependent clause.

Ex:

He couldn’t go to school because of the bad weather.

She has been happy since you arrived.

Although he told the truth, no one believed him.

Compound Sentence: A sentence that contains two or more independent clauses

Ex:

The train was late, so I took the bus.

He smiled at them, but they looked away.

My brother sang a song, and I played the piano.

Compound-Complex Sentence: A sentence that contains at least two independent clauses and at least one dependent clause.

Ex:

I enjoyed the historical film, but my friend, who likes action films, didn’t like the film.

Even though he likes to play football, he started to learn cricket; however, he wasn’t very good at cricket.

A sentence always begins with a capital letter and ends with a full stop, a question mark or an exclamation mark.

Main Difference - Fragment vs Sentence

Sentence: The puzzle is complete.

What is a Fragment

A fragment or a sentence fragment is a group of words which is used as a sentence, but it does not express a complete thought. Although we frequently use fragments in spoken language, they are frowned upon in written language. In written language, fragments are considered to be an error.

Because Nadine was a fair reporter.

And talked with the poor people to help them.

The girl sitting on the floor, wearing a neon blue t-shirt.

After he talked to me.

Why are the above examples considered fragments, and not complete sentences? Well, at the beginning of this article, we talked about essential factors in a complete sentence. – They are subject, predicate, and complete thought.  The above sentences lack one or several of these elements. This is why they are considered to be sentence fragments.

If you are not sure whether your sentence is a sentence fragment or a complete sentence, check the following:

  1. Is there a subject?
  2. Is there a predicate?
  3. Is there an independent clause?

If the answer to all three questions is yes, you have a complete sentence. If not, you have a sentence fragment.

You can fix a sentence fragment by adding the missing element or attaching the fragment to a sentence nearby.

Difference Between Fragment and Sentence

Fragment: The puzzle not complete.

Difference Between Fragment and Sentence

Thought Conveyed

Fragment does not convey a complete thought.

Sentence conveys a complete thought.

Components

Subject

Fragment may not contain a subject.

Sentence always contains a subject.

Verb

Fragment may not contain a verb.

Sentence always contains a verb.

Independent Clause

Fragment may not contain an independent clause.

Sentence always contains at least one independent clause.

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About the Author: Hasa

Hasa has a BA degree in English, French and Translation studies. She is currently reading for a Masters degree in English. Her areas of interests include literature, language, linguistics and also food.


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