How to avoid sentence fragments

Sentence fragments are a common problem. They occur when a sentence does not have a main clause.

Study the sentence given below:

In countries like India, where the grades of the children have always been a symbol of status for the parents.

The above sentence does not have a main clause. There is a subordinate clause beginning with ‘where’.

A subordinate clause cannot stand alone. It must be attached to a principal or main clause.

Generally speaking, clauses beginning with a conjunction (because, as, since, though, when, while etc.) or a relative pronoun/adverb (who, which, that, where, what etc.) cannot stand alone. They must be attached to another clause that does not contain a conjunction.

So, the above sentence can be written as:

In countries like India, the grades of the children have always been a symbol of status for the parents.

Now we removed the relative adverb ‘where’ and the clause became a main clause.

Or we can write:

In countries like India where the grades of the children have always been a symbol of status for the parents, children are under tremendous pressure to perform.

The above sentence has two clauses.

where the grades of the children have always been a symbol of status for the parents (subordinate clause)

children are under tremendous pressure to perform (main clause)

As you can see, the main clause does not contain a conjunction. Every sentence must have at least one main clause.

Related posts:

  1. Beginning a sentence with and or but
  2. How to avoid run-on sentences?
  3. When to use commas to separate words and phrases
  4. Vary your vocabulary and sentence structures to get a higher band score
  5. How to use tenses correctly in your IELTS essays and letters?
  6. When to use the present tense instead of the future tense?
  7. IELTS essays: common grammar mistakes to avoid
  8. Connecting sentences with conjunctions and transitional adverbs
  9. When to set off relative clauses with commas
  10. IELTS writing tips: sentence connectors

Manjusha Nambiar

Hi, I'm Manjusha. This is my blog where I give IELTS preparation tips.

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