Faulty Sentence: Definition & Examples

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  • 0:07 What is a Faulty Sentence?
  • 0:34 What is a Good Sentence?
  • 0:58 Sentence Fragments
  • 2:22 Run-on Sentences
  • 4:29 The Importance of Clarity
  • 5:06 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Debbie Notari
In this lesson, we will examine the faulty sentence. A sentence may be faulty for several reasons, and we will take a look at the most common mistakes people make when constructing sentences.

What Is a Faulty Sentence?

A faulty sentence is a sentence that is deficient in one way or another. When we read it, something sounds incomplete or wrong. We may have difficulty understanding exactly what the writer is trying to say. For this reason, it is really important for writers to use sentences that are both clear and grammatically correct. Writing is for communication, and if the sentences are not communicating what the writer intends, there is a problem that needs to be fixed.

What Is a Good Sentence?

A complete sentence contains both a subject (noun) and a verb (that subject's action). If a sentence is missing either of these essential parts, we have a problem. A complete sentence is a complete thought. If the thought is not complete, neither is the sentence. Also, good sentences are clear and fairly to the point. When we read good sentences, we understand what the writer is trying to communicate.

Sentence Fragments

The first faulty sentence we will examine is the sentence fragment. A fragment is, by definition, a piece of something. Even very long sentences can be sentence fragments if they don't express a complete idea. Here are some examples.

'To the store.' Okay. When we read this sentence, we may ask, 'Who went to the store, and what did they do there?' This sentence is missing a subject and a verb, the two most essential parts of a sentence. It is a fragment. To make this sentence work, we must add a subject and a verb. Here is a better sentence: 'Mrs. Jones walked to the store.'

A second sentence fragment might read, 'Speedily raced down the track.' This sentence is missing a subject. A subject is always a noun - a person, place, thing or idea - and every sentence must have one. We find ourselves asking, 'Who raced down the track?' To fix this sentence, we need to add a noun, and the corrected sentence might read, 'The track star speedily raced down the track.'

The final type of sentence fragment is missing a verb, or action. For instance, if we say, 'Tina at the school,' we definitely want to know what Tina did at the school. To fix this type of faulty sentence, we need to add a verb. Saying, 'Tina ate bananas at the school,' would turn this fragment into a complete sentence.

Run-On Sentences

All sentences have stopping points. Unfortunately, some writers like to string their ideas along with the overuse of conjunctions. Conjunctions are words that act like the links between boxcars on trains. The conjunctions we use between words and sentences are: and, but, or, nor, for, so and yet. When linking sentences together, the rule is that we may only use one conjunction. Then, the sentence must be stopped or creatively reworked before the writer continues on to the next sentence.

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