It is difficult for some students to grasp that a complete sentence requires a subject and a verb and that it has to articulate a complete thought. To learn how to write complete sentences, students must be able to identify sentence fragments or incomplete sentences from correct ones. As a teacher or parent, you can organize interactive games for your children or students to help reinforce their understanding about sentence fragments. The interaction will also allow students who already understand help children that need extra assistance.
Words on Strips of Paper
This game can be played with an entire classroom of students or a large group of children. As the facilitator, create enough strips for each participant. Half of the strips should have sentence fragments and half should have independent clauses. Some examples of sentence fragments are "Since he shaved his head" and "because she likes to hula." Some examples of independent clauses are "She eats chocolate every day" and "He memorized the entire dictionary." Randomly distribute one strip of paper to each participant. Instruct students to find someone in the room who has a strip of paper that can be combined with theirs. A student with a sentence fragment needs to join up with someone who has an independent clause. At the end of the game, ask pairs to read their hilarious complete sentences to the class. As an alternative, write strips that all have sentence fragments, where half of the strips have the beginning portion of a sentence and the other half have the ending portion of a sentence.
When children are comfortable with sentence fragments and complete sentences, you can divide them into pairs and organize this activity. Instruct one person in each of the pairs to write down five sentence fragments. The other member of the pair should add words to transform the fragments into complete sentences. Encourage members of the pairs to switch roles. For added entertainment, award prizes for the final sentences that are the most humorous, poetic, scientific and descriptive.
The song game can be played among a large group or in pairs. For a large group, divide participants into two teams. The first player on the first team yells out his favorite song title. Members of the second team should decide if the title is a sentence fragment or a complete sentence. As the facilitator, you can tell the team's members if they have answered correctly. Teams alternate roles of yelling out song titles and identifying whether they are fragments or sentences as you keep score. If the game is being played among pairs, circulate around the room to monitor whether participants are correctly identifying whether song titles are fragments versus sentences.
Children or students can play online sentence-fragment games at home or in class if they have finished their work ahead of time. The Grammar Bytes Exercises page on chompchomp.com has a section of fragments games. Some games deal with finding a fragment within a passage; others focus on identifying whether a phrase is a fragment or a sentence and the final activities incorporate other grammar concepts with sentence fragments. The Grammar Bytes games provide entertaining feedback to participants whether they get an answer right or wrong. The activities also explain why a particular answer is correct.
- game image by Andrey Rakhmatullin from Fotolia.com