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Sentence fragment

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Sentence fragment [#permalink]

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New post 16 Aug 2017, 10:10
I have a question about fragment sentences, that is sentences that lack verb or subject. Let's take those two examples from Manhattan sentence correction strategy guide:

1. The cat sitting by the stairs watched the mouse.
2. A new textbook focused on recent advances in artificial intelligence assigned by our instructor.

According to Manhattan's explanation, the first sentence is grammatically correct as it includes a subject (cat) and a verb (watched). On the contrary, the second sentence is fragment because it lacks a main verb. Up to their explanation, for the sentence to be grammatically correct , the sentence should written as "A new textbook ... was assigned" (we should add "was" before the word assigned).

I don't understand what is the difference - in structure - between the two sentences that make's the first sentence right and the second sentence wrong. In other words, why should we add the word "was" to the second question but not to the first sentence?

Thanks in advance!

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Re: Sentence fragment [#permalink]

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New post 16 Aug 2017, 10:22
oryahalom wrote:
I have a question about fragment sentences, that is sentences that lack verb or subject. Let's take those two examples from Manhattan sentence correction strategy guide:

1. The cat sitting by the stairs watched the mouse.
2. A new textbook focused on recent advances in artificial intelligence assigned by our instructor.

According to Manhattan's explanation, the first sentence is grammatically correct as it includes a subject (cat) and a verb (watched). On the contrary, the second sentence is fragment because it lacks a main verb. Up to their explanation, for the sentence to be grammatically correct , the sentence should written as "A new textbook ... was assigned" (we should add "was" before the word assigned).

I don't understand what is the difference - in structure - between the two sentences that make's the first sentence right and the second sentence wrong. In other words, why should we add the word "was" to the second question but not to the first sentence?

Thanks in advance!


A new textbook focused on recent advances in artificial intelligence assigned by our instructor.

The first highlighted part is a -ed modifier modifying textbook, and the second highlighted part is an -ed modifier modifying intelligence. Hence, this sentence lacks a verb.
Both 'focused' and 'assigned' are NOT verbs here.
We need a form of 'to be' to make them into a verb, and thats why 'was' is used before assigned, making it into a verb.

Correct Sentence - A new textbook focused on recent advances in artificial intelligence was assigned by our instructor.
Here 'focused.... intelligence' is describing the new textbook, and this textbook was assigned by the instructor.
=> The textbook was assigned by our instructor. Which Textbook? The one focused on recent advances in artificial intelligence.

For the first sentence, The cat sitting by the stairs watched the mouse.
The highlighted part is a -ing modifier giving us more information about the Cat.
'Watched' is the main verb of the sentence i.e. the action the cat is performing.
=> The Cat watched the mouse. Which Cat? The one sitting by the stairs.

Does this help?
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Sentence fragment [#permalink]

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New post 16 Aug 2017, 10:36
akshayk - thanks for your response! Unfortunately i didn't grasp it :(

Why "assigned by our instructor" modifying intelligence? it seems illogical to me. Why is not the action made in relation to the textbook?

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Re: Sentence fragment [#permalink]

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New post 16 Aug 2017, 10:50
So let’s say the sentence is as follows :

The textbook assigned by our instructor.

The pizza eaten by me.

Are these sentences correct? And if so, what are the verbs?


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Sentence fragment [#permalink]

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New post 16 Aug 2017, 11:14
akshayk I guess that they are not. It also sound better with "was" before the assigned and eaten, But i want to understand the logic behind it and not rely on my ear. In general "assign" can serve as a verb, So my query boiled down to this issue: in which case that we have a word in the past form, that in general can serves as a verb, it actually plays the role of a verb, and in which it doesn't? In other words - how to identify if the -ed word being used is a Verb or a Modifier?

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Sentence fragment [#permalink]

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New post 16 Aug 2017, 14:43
oryahalom wrote:
akshayk I guess that they are not. It also sound better with "was" before the assigned and eaten, But i want to understand the logic behind it and not rely on my ear. In general "assign" can serve as a verb, So my query boiled down to this issue: in which case that we have a word in the past form, that in general can serves as a verb, it actually plays the role of a verb, and in which it doesn't? In other words - how to identify if the -ed word being used is a Verb or a Modifier?


https://gmatclub.com/forum/ed-forms-ver ... 34691.html
This article should help you :) And also re-read the topics on sentence structure, and Subject Verb agreement.

Best of Luck mate!
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Re: Sentence fragment [#permalink]

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New post 16 Aug 2017, 22:37
oryahalom wrote:
I guess that they are not. It also sound better with "was" before the assigned and eaten, But i want to understand the logic behind it and not rely on my ear. In general "assign" can serve as a verb, So my query boiled down to this issue: in which case that we have a word in the past form, that in general can serves as a verb, it actually plays the role of a verb, and in which it doesn't? In other words - how to identify if the -ed word being used is a Verb or a Modifier?

Hi oryahalom, the issue is that for most verbs in English, the simple past and Past participle are the same (such verbs are called regular verbs. For example: assigned can be used both as simple past verb and as Past participle).

This is not an issue with irregular verbs, for which the simple past and Past participle are different (for example: ate is simple past while eaten is Past participle).

Our book EducationAisle Sentence Correction Nirvana discusses a simple framework to distinguish between simple past verb and Past participle for regular verbs. If someone is interested, PM me your email-id; I can mail the corresponding section.
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Sentence Correction Nirvana available at Amazon.in and Flipkart

Now! Preview the entire Grammar Section of Sentence Correction Nirvana at pothi.com

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Re: Sentence fragment [#permalink]

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New post 16 Aug 2017, 22:51
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Hi education Aisle please mail that section to me as well.
suryangshumukherjee@gmail.com

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Re: Sentence fragment   [#permalink] 16 Aug 2017, 22:51
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