Wednesday's are for Grammar (What Makes a Sentence)

Last Week's Homework:
Your assignment was to write me a sentence that completely violated all of the correct rules of capitalization. I really enjoyed reading your sentences. You made me laugh out loud!

Those who get to post the good grammar button:

Julia S

And the Shiny Red Pencil for Keeners:
Ahh, this was a hard decision.

Should I give it to Alice, who rhymes. . .
Julia S, who can totally use some love.
Carmen who is new. . .
LoriBeth, who has the same rant about capitalization that I do. .


Martha, who not only did her homework, but has bribed the teacher with chocolate. She's kind of a floozy that way (The teacher not Martha).

A stern reminder: Your grammar button is only good for one week. Keep the button up longer and your broccoli will grow roots and fraternize with your potatoes, strange little fish will come to inhabit your toilet bowl and your car will only make left turns. Honest.

This Week's Lesson:
Ahh, dear readers, what makes a sentence? A capital letter at one end, and a period at the other?
A million times no.
Absolutely Not!

Now, all of you will have read the entry on subjects and predicates, no? What do you mean you haven't? Well, go read it.
Now, do try to keep up.

So, you will remember that all sentences have a subject and a predicate. What else can we say about a sentence: It should be able to stand alone.
What happens when we have sentences that can't stand alone? We have a sentence fragment.

Test Number 1
Want a quick test? Ask yourself, does this sentence have a verb and a subject? Very often when we read a fragment, we are left reading the sentence, saying "and. . .?" Consider the following sentence.

The purple knitting needles.

Well, what about them? It's great that there are purple knitting needles, but we don't have them doing anything, they are lacking a verb. Alternatively, we could have this sentence:

Knitting really fast.

Notice anything? That's right. No subject.
No subject = no Sentence.

Test Number 2:
One final test - does the sentence start with a dependent clause:
  • After
  • although
  • as
  • because
  • before
  • even though
  • if
  • since
  • though
  • unless
  • until
  • when
  • whenever
  • where
  • wherever

Your Homework:
See if you can find me an example of a sentence fragment that is masquerading as a sentence.