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Essay Rules | Intentional Fragments

How to Avoid Intentional Fragments in Essays

Avoid Intentional Fragments in Essays

“Wow! Look at all those FRAG comments Ms. Johnson wrote on your essay. You sure do love your fragments! Maybe consider writing a complete sentence once in a while,” suggested John.

“Ah… life’s too short to have to write all those words,” complained Lara. “I could type an entire essay in emojis.”

Definition and Examples

An intentional fragment is simply an incomplete sentence. It is intentional because the author chooses to use a fragment instead of a complete sentence. Writers use intentional fragments as substitutes for any of the four types of sentences: declarative (statement), imperative (command), or exclamatory (surprise or strong emotion) in narratives (story), poetry, texting, notes, and other forms of informal writing to reflect the authentic language used in everyday speech.

Examples: How dumb. Time to run. That’s amazing! Really?

Read the rule.

Write in complete sentences for all formal writing, including essays and reports, and do not use intentional fragments. A complete sentence expresses a complete thought and includes both a subject and predicate. The voice drops down at the end of a declarative (statement), imperative (command), and exclamatory (surprise or strong emotion) sentence and rises at the end of an interrogative (question) sentence.

Practice

Write the following sentences and [bracket] the intentional fragments.

  1. How very strange. They would have expected him to put up less of a fight. Go figure!
  2. Seriously? The author questions whether freedom of assembly should be a right. What a joke!
  3. Ah, to be young and foolish once again. Who knows if they will return home.
  4. Visiting the National Parks is amazing. Such beauty and wildlife! All in our protected parks.
  5. She left her phone at the beach. So sad. No doubt the tide has come in by now. What a loss!

Revise the intentional fragment.

Avoid intentional fragments. Right?

Answers

  1. [How very strange.] They would have expected him to put up less of a fight. [Go figure!]
  2. [Seriously?] The author questions whether freedom of assembly should be a right. [What a joke!]
  3. [Ah, to be young and foolish once again.] Who knows if they will return home.
  4. Visiting the National Parks is amazing. [Such beauty and wildlife!] [All in our protected parks.]
  5. She left her phone at the beach. [So sad.] No doubt the tide has come in by now. [What a loss!]

Pennington Publishing's Teaching Essay Strategies

Teaching Essay Strategies

For more essay rules and practice, check out the author’s Teaching Essay Strategies. This curriculum includes 42 essay strategy worksheets corresponding to teach the Common Core State Writing Standards, 8 on-demand writing fluencies, 8 writing process essays (4 argumentative and 4 informative/explanatory), 64  sentence revision and 64 rhetorical stance “openers,” writing posters, and helpful editing resources. 

Differentiate your essay instruction in this comprehensive writing curriculum with remedial writing worksheets, including sentence structure, grammar, thesis statements, errors in reasoning, and transitions.

Plus, get an e-comment bank of 438 prescriptive writing responses with an link to insert into Microsoft Word® for easy e-grading (works great with Google Docs),

Download the following 24 FREE Writing Style Posters to help your students learn the essay rules. Each has a funny or ironic statement (akin to “Let’s eat Grandma) to teach the memorable rule. 

Get the Writing Style Posters FREE Resource:

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