HiSET: Language Arts - Writing : Recognizing fragments and run-on sentences

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for HiSET: Language Arts - Writing

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Example Questions

Example Question #1 : Recognizing Fragments And Run On Sentences

After attending a performance of a local jazz band, a blogger wrote the following article.

1 The Mahoney Performing Arts Center played host to a truly inspiring performance by the William Eastwood Quintet last Saturday evening.  Although Mr. Eastwood and his fellow musicians have a songbook comprised solely of jazz standards, many of them are over 50 years old, the Quintet breathes new life into each song they play. The works of jazz legends such as Dizzy Gillespie and Duke Ellington were certainly in competent hands throughout the two-hour performance.

2 Eastwood departed from jazz tradition by beginning his set with a ballad, You Must Believe In Spring.  While this choice meant that the audience was not as energetic as it might be had he chosen a more upbeat number, it also gave listeners a chance to appreciate the outstanding interplay between the members of the Quintet.  Audience members who wanted to snap their fingers or clap along with the beat were rewarded by several livelier songs in the middle of the performance, climaxing with an incendiary rendition of Gillespie’s classic, Salt Peanuts.

3 While the focus of the show was clearly the outstanding saxophone playing of the band’s leader, Eastwood gave ample opportunities for his fellow musicians to shine.  In particular, pianist Devon Semien, who took the spotlight for a 5 minute solo during the classic Body and Soul. The entire band were in synch throughout the performance, signaling that William Eastwood is going to a force in the jazz world for years to come.

Which choice best replaces the bolded and underlined phrase?

Possible Answers:

pianist Devon Semien taking the spotlight for a 5 minute solo during the classic, Body and Soul.

taking the spotlight by pianist Devon Semien for a 5 minute solo during the classic, Body and Soul.

pianist Devon Semien took the spotlight for a 5 minute solo during the classic, Body and Soul.

(no change)

Correct answer:

pianist Devon Semien took the spotlight for a 5 minute solo during the classic, Body and Soul.

Explanation:

The original sentence lacks a predicate and is thus a fragment.  Participles such as "taking" cannot serve as predicates without auxiliary verbs, also creating sentence fragments.

Example Question #2 : Recognizing Fragments And Run On Sentences

(1)  I’m completely convinced that the little hole in the wall with the green awning is the best coffee shop in the city. (2) Right on the corner of 89th Street and 2nd Avenue next to the bus stop. (3) I grew up just a couple of blocks away, and this place has been around since before I was born. (4) I’m sure you’ve never heard of it, but it is definitely the best. (5) Their coffee is delicious and always the perfect temperature—not too hot, and not too cold. (6) They get their coffee beans from a local coffee roaster about ten blocks north. (7) Believe me when I tell you that the pastries are out of this world. (8) You’ve got to try their chocolate croissants. (9) One would be remiss not to mention that all aforementioned pastries are made daily in-house. (10) The chef, a woman named Julie, supposedly trained in Paris and learned from some of the best French pastry chefs. (11) I’d have expected that a chef like that would wind up in some fancy bakery instead of an unassuming little neighborhood spot like this. (12) Julie lives in the apartment right above the shop. (13) She’s hired a few local kids to work at the counter, but she bakes every weekday. (14) It’s rare that tourists make it this far north in the city, so most of the customers are locals who live nearby. (15) A few other coffee shops and bakeries have come and gone over the years, but none of them are anywhere near as good as this one. (16) I’ll take you tomorrow morning, and you can see for yourself. 

Which sentence is a fragment? 

Possible Answers:

Sentence (11) 

Sentence (6)

Sentence (2) 

Sentence (7)

Sentence (4)

Correct answer:

Sentence (2) 

Explanation:

There is no subject/predicate unit in this sentence. As it is currently written, the sentence really just describes a location. In order for it to be a complete sentence, it would need to be revised to read something like "The coffee shop is located right on the corner of 89th Street and 2nd Avenue next to the bus stop." In this revision, "the coffee shop" is the subject and "is located" is the predicate. 

Example Question #3 : Recognizing Fragments And Run On Sentences

(1) Leo Tolstoy was a Russian author widely regarded as one of the greatest writers of all time. (2) His great works include lengthy novels like War and Peace and Anna Karenina as well as short stories, novellas, plays, and essays. (3) Tolstoy being born in 1828 in the southwest of Russia. (4) Although he had the good fortune of being born into a privileged family, his parents died while he was very young. (5) As a young man, he spent most of his time in Moscow and St. Petersburg. (6) What he was doing in Moscow and St. Petersburg was gambling. (7) In 1851, Tolstoy joined the Russian army. (8) This was also around the time that he began his writing career. (9) It might be inferred that his military service accounts for the dramatic transition from irresponsible youth to virtuosic literary giant. (10) In the 1870s, Tolstoy underwent a serious ideological shift. (11) During this period he began a dedicated study of biblical teachings and became an avid Christian pacifist. (12) Even though he was born to an aristocratic family, he believed that the aristocracy was a burden to the poor. (13) His political writings influenced much Christian anarchist thought that followed. (14) Tolstoy also became a staunch believer in the economic theory of Georgism. (15) Georgism holds that the natural resources of the land should belong to the community, rather than to a single private owner. (16) Many of these philosophies are evident in his fiction, which often includes characters who work the land and long, rhapsodic passages celebrating the natural world. 

What would be the best way to rewrite sentence (3)?

Possible Answers:

The Tolstoys welcomed their son Leo in 1828, born in the southwest of Russia.

Tolstoy being in the southwest of Russia was born in 1828.

Tolstoy being born in 1828 in the southwest of Russia. (no change)

In 1828 in the southwest of Russia, Tolstoy, it is said, was born.

Tolstoy was born in 1828 in the southwest of Russia.

Correct answer:

Tolstoy was born in 1828 in the southwest of Russia.

Explanation:

This revision is the clearest way to convey Tolstoy's year and place of birth. This revision makes it an active sentence with a clear subject (Tolstoy) and predicate (was born). As it is written in the passage, there is no clear predicate. 

Example Question #4 : Recognizing Fragments And Run On Sentences

I was late to first period because I walked to school today, it was a very long walk. Racing into class as the bell rang. I got to my seat just in time for the lesson.

What is the best way to revise the text to correct errors in sentence structure?

Possible Answers:

I was late to first period because I walked to school today, it was a very long walk. Racing into class as the bell rang. I got to my seat just in time for the lesson.

I was late to first period because I walked to school today, yet it was a very long walk. Racing into class as the bell rang. I got to my seat just in time for the lesson.

I was late to first period because I walked to school today, and it was a very long walk. Racing into class as the bell rang. I got to my seat just in time for the lesson.

I was late to first period because I walked to school today; it was a very long walk. Racing into class as the bell rang, I got to my seat just in time for the lesson.

I was late to first period, because I walked to school today, it was a very long walk. Racing into class as the bell rang, and I got to my seat just in time for the lesson.

Correct answer:

I was late to first period because I walked to school today; it was a very long walk. Racing into class as the bell rang, I got to my seat just in time for the lesson.

Explanation:

The first sentence in the short block of text is grammatically incorrect because it is a run-on sentence. It is the type of run-on know as a comma splice because there are two independent clauses ("I was late to first period because I walked to school today" and "it was a very long walk") a comma is not strong enough punctuation, so the correct answer must include either a comma and a conjunction, or a semicolon. Semicolons separate two independent clauses that relate to each other. The second sentence is a sentence fragment, because it is a dependent clause. A dependent clause does not include a subject and a verb. To remedy this error, the second and third sentences can be combined. An independent and a dependent clause can be combined with a comma. 

Example Question #5 : Recognizing Fragments And Run On Sentences

Dear Author,

Thank you for bringing the Harold Rodgers series into the world—your books have made my life so much better and more interesting. (1) Your books are just amazing. The characters and the plot spark my imagination and take me into a new world. (2) I just couldn’t put the books down once I read them they are so suspenseful. I think you should write another book. If you did, a lot of people would buy it. (3) When your previous books were published, the lines at the bookstore were out the door, and people were waited all night to get your book. You could make a lot of money selling your books to children and adults since so many people would buy it. (4) Everyone needs to make money to survive. Please consider writing another book for your fans. Thank you for taking time to read my request. 

How should sentence 2 be rewritten?

Possible Answers:

I just couldn’t put the books down once I started reading them because they are so suspenseful.

The books are so suspenseful I just couldn’t put the books down once I started them. 

I just couldn’t put the books down once I started reading them, so they are very suspenseful. 

The books are so suspenseful and I just couldn’t put the books down. 

Correct answer:

I just couldn’t put the books down once I started reading them because they are so suspenseful.

Explanation:

Sentence 2 needs to be changed because it is a run-on sentence. The correct choice is “I just couldn’t put the books down once I started reading them because they are so suspenseful.” This sentence effectively joins the two independent clauses using the appropriate transition: “because.” The other choices are still run-on sentences or are joined by a less effective conjunction.  

Example Question #6 : Recognizing Fragments And Run On Sentences

The rules of English grammar and writing are important to some poets. Proper grammar can help get the meaning of writing across to a wide audience. That is why many people were shocked with the inventive poetry of E.E. Cummings. He took risks and did all he could not to write in a single comprehensible English sentence. He E.E. Cummings lived an interesting and productive life. He is most widely known as “the poet who didn’t capitalize his name,” and his life, like his poetic style, was unique.

Edward Estlin Cummings was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1894. He grew up with lenient, liberal parents. They supported his writing at an early age. Unlike many poets, he liked his parents and enjoyed his childhood. He went to public schools in Cambridge before attending Harvard University, like his father. At Harvard, Cummings received a M.A. for English and Classical studies and graduated magna cum laude. He also helped found the Harvard Poetry Society (Unger 431).

How can the following sentences best be combined?

"He grew up with lenient, liberal parents. They supported his writing at an early age."

Possible Answers:

He grew up with parents who supported his writing at an early age because they were lenient and liberal

He grew up and his parents supported his writing at an early age, lenient and liberal as they were

He grew up with lenient, liberal parents, they supported his writing at an early age

His lenient, liberal parents supported his writing at an early age

Correct answer:

His lenient, liberal parents supported his writing at an early age

Explanation:

The correct answer is “His lenient, liberal parents supported his writing at an early age.” This is the best choice because it is the most concise use of language. The other options combine the two ideas less efficiently and less effectively. The sentence "He grew up with lenient, liberal parents, they supported his writing at an early age" lacks a necessary conjunction. The other choices are too wordy. 

Example Question #7 : Recognizing Fragments And Run On Sentences

In one small town in California, [5] community leaders were worried about the next generation of kids growing up overweight because of the unhealthy food options. Local leaders decided to create a program in which [6] farmers taught kids how to cook healthy meals. In the six-week program, farmers taught kids how to grow fresh vegetables. In the newly-dug school gardens. [7] The kids were proud to eat tomatoes, lettuce, and beans that they had grown in their [8] own gardens. Plus, these vegetables can make delicious meals from all different cultures. [9]

Choose the most grammatically correct option.

Possible Answers:

In the six-week program, farmers taught kids how to grow fresh vegetables in the newly-dug school gardens.

In the six-week program, farmers taught kids how to grow fresh vegetables in the, newly-dug school gardens.

In the six-week program, farmers taught kids how to grow fresh vegetables in the newly-dug school, gardens.

In the six-week program, farmers taught kids how to grow fresh vegetables, in the newly-dug school gardens.

No change.

Correct answer:

In the six-week program, farmers taught kids how to grow fresh vegetables in the newly-dug school gardens.

Explanation:

The original option is incorrect, as it splits a sentence into two incomplete parts. The correct answer correctly places the comma to combine the two sentences into one fluid idea.

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