What's a "Fragment"?

Hello Friends

I’m learning English and i have some problems in writing. I’m trying to write some Essays from TOEFL-like topics because I want to present it the next november, I think that I have enough time to improve.

I write in Microsoft Word, and the ortographic tool sometimes says me that some sentence is a Fragment. I need some help to understand what a fragment is, how to correct it, how to avoid doing again, etc.

Thanks a lot to answer


‘Fragment’ has one or two meanings and has the general sense of ‘a small piece of something’ If you drop a plate on to a hard floor, it will break into small pieces or fragments. Very old books sometimes fall to pieces after many years and you can only see pieces of the pages, which we would call fragments. Microsoft Word is suggesting that what you have written is not a complete sentence and it is therefore only a fragment and not a whole sentence.

Hope this helps


Thanks a lot, Alan. Of Course I knew what generally means “Fragment”, my langue has the same word: “Fragmento”

I think I do this mistakes because my brain is already a little bit in Spanish (We don’t say most of personal pronouns, for instance). I copy-paste one of this sentences that my Word tags as a fragment (in bold):

[i]It is the moment to do a very important choice: what to do the next years? to Go to university 5 years? Perhaps to study 10 years, if they want to do a Doctor title? To Learn something about a semi qualified work for 2 or 3 years? to Start to work in a non qualified place, with only a 2 weeks training?

if you attend to university, you can to know more and more than some topics non-relational with your career but that you love. For example Astronomy, Economics, Literature or History [/i]

I would like to know why this couple of sentences are fragments.

Thank you :smiley:

Neither has a main subject or verb. They could be made complete sentences like this:

Should they perhaps choose to study 10 years, if they want to do a Doctor title?
For example, you can learn about Astronomy, Economics, Literature or History.

Actually, your software has caught only a fraction of your sentence fragments and none of your other structural or semantic errors. Your essay excerpt should read something like this:

It is the moment to make a very important choice: what to do during the next years. Should you go to university for 5 years? Should you perhaps choose to study for 10 years, if you want to earn a degree in medicine? Should you learn something about a trade for 2 or 3 years? Or should you simply start to work in an unskilled position with only two weeks’ training?

If you attend university, you can learn more about some fields unrelated to your career, but of personal interest. For example, you can study astronomy, economics, literature or history.

Thanks a lot, Misster Micawber. These are just the things that I need.

I can see clearly now one of my biggest mistakes: Put a main verb as a subject.

In spanish you can do that, i must to close the door to spanish grammar when I write in english

De veras!