Grammar Tip – Sentences: fragments or run-ons

There is nothing that ruins a writer’s professional image faster than grammatically-poor sentences. A sentence must contain a subject and a verb and must express a complete thought.


The report was written.

I wrote the report.

Both of these examples contain a subject and a verb and state a complete thought. A sentence may also include several subjects and/or verbs and may express more than one thought.


The report analyzes the results, and the recommendations will be presented to the board. (This is a compound sentence {two subjects, two verbs and two thoughts}. That is why there is a comma before the “and.”)

Writers get themselves into trouble when they ignore the conditions for a sentence. They may then produce sentence fragments or run-on sentences.

A sentence fragment is a group of words that lacks a subject and/or verb or does not express a complete thought.

Original example

As you required.

(There is a subject and a verb but it does not express a complete thought.)

Correct example

As you required, we revised our estimates.

A run-on sentence consists of two or more sentences joined without the appropriate punctuation.

Original example

Computers break down, however, you can call the help desk.?(There are two sentences.)

Revised example

Computers break down. However, you can call the help desk

Can you identify whether the following sentences are fragments, run-ons or are correct?

  1. In response to your correspondence of March 27 regarding the funding for your project.
  2. We have only two days until the annual meeting I don’t have the annual report completed and that will take at least two days to finalize.
  3. You edited your document from the computer screen instead of in print format as a result you did not catch all the errors.
  4. Head office wants all managers to be present when the client arrives next week for our first project management meeting.
  5. I saw in the paper last week that Starbrite is going to move its head office to Winnipeg although it may upset many employees.
  6. Although clarity and conciseness are an important part of the writing process in business documents, which are sent to impatient readers.


1. fragment, 2. run-on, 3. run-on, 4. correct, 5. correct, 6. fragment.

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