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Breaking the Rules with Sentence Fragments
|Grades||9 – 12|
|Lesson Plan Type||Standard Lesson|
|Estimated Time||Three 50-minute sessions|
Fredonia, New York
Teachers generally warn student writers to avoid sentence fragments, but professional writers use sentence fragments effectively for a variety of reasons. Using Edgar Schuster’s study of sentence fragments from The Best American Essays, this lesson encourages students to examine fragments in action, determine their effective rhetorical uses, and reflect on their own uses of sentence fragments.
- ReadWriteThink Printing Press: Students use this online tool to produce a brochure based on the information they learn in this lesson.
In a 2006 article in English Journal, Edgar Schuster uses essays from The Best American Essays to demonstrate that professional writers used sentence fragments at the rate of .93 per page on average. This statistic flies in the face of English teachers who admonish their students to “avoid sentence fragments.” By closely examining the contexts in which professional writers use fragments, Schuster is able to formulate several rules for effective fragment use and encourages student writers to do so as well.
Schuster, Edgar. “A Fresh Look at Sentence Fragments.” English Journal 95.5 (2006): 78-83.