Microsoft Office is claiming a statement I recently made is a fragment, however I do not agree with its opinion.

Bob, to my knowledge that resource is currently unsupported.

Can anyone provide any insight into whether this truly is a fragment or not?

  • 1
    I'm assuming that in this sentence, you're addressing Bob and informing him that the resource is unsupported. Is this the intended meaning? – jackgill Jun 29 '11 at 15:56
  • I'm guessing the grammar checker is choking on the "that." It can't find a verb in front of it, so it figures there must be a fragment. What happens if you change "that" to "this"? – Kit Z. Fox Jun 29 '11 at 16:05
  • I find MS Office frequently tags such sentences as fragments, when the comma is missing. See the answer from @jackgill. – Mike Christian Jun 29 '11 at 16:43
  • @jackgill yes, precisely. – Chris Marisic Jun 29 '11 at 19:41
  • Get Bob on here; then you can start with '@Bob'. Together we can change the world! – TimLymington Jun 29 '11 at 20:58

If you are saying to Bob that some resource is unsupported, your sentence is grammatical and the tool just can't tell. Another way you could write it would be:

To my knowledge, Bob, that resource is currently unsupported.

You are interrupting your statement to indicate, as an offset, who you're speaking to.

All that said, is it actually necessary to include Bob in this sentence?

  • This is much clearer than the original or my answer. – jackgill Jun 29 '11 at 16:07
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    Yes it is necessary, MONICA. +1 though, clear and covers it as well as offering a replacement to fix MSWord's silliness. – DKGasser Jun 29 '11 at 16:10
  • Better than my answer, too. – sjl Jun 29 '11 at 19:00
  • "Bob" was a specific person I was addressing in a multiple user email chain. – Chris Marisic Jun 29 '11 at 19:39

Add a comma and you're ok.

Bob, to my knowledge, that resource is currently unsupported.

Those mechanical grammar checkers aren't very reliable. Always check with yourself or another human being.

  • 3
    Even the comma is optional, though I agree with you that adding it makes the sentence clearer. Then again, I over-use commas horribly. Take that as you will :-) – user1579 Jun 29 '11 at 15:56
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    Actually, that made it harder for me to understand, as I first parsed the comma-offset phrase as a subordinate. The two commas are independent here. – Monica Cellio Jun 29 '11 at 16:03
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    I think you're right. It's very confusing both ways. Without the comma it looks like that is subordinate to knowledge and with the comma, it looks like Bob is the subject. – jackgill Jun 29 '11 at 16:05
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    @Rhodri - "To my knowledge" is a proposition, and certainly requires a comma. I find American English is quickly becoming devoid of commas. This is one of my pet peeves. I frequently find commas missing before the "and" in a list annoying, confusing, and incorrect, even in print media and books. (See what I did there?) I believe the commas are migrating north, to become apostrophes, brutally and horrifically abused in the most ghastly of places. – Mike Christian Jun 29 '11 at 16:41
  • @Mike Christian: I won't dispute that more commas get omitted than should be. I will fight you to the death over Oxford commas, though. To the death, I say! – user1579 Jun 29 '11 at 16:53

It is not a fragment -- it's a complete sentence. The subject is "resource" (modified by "that"), the verb is "is", and the subject complement (or predicate adjective) is "unsupported" (modified by "currently"). "To my knowledge" is an adverbial phrase modifying the verb. I'm not sure how to describe "Bob" as part of the sentence structure, for it's been a looong time since eighth grade.

I suspect MS Word got confused by "that", which often indicates the start of a dependent clause. (As "which" did in the preceding sentence.)

Anyway, it is a complete sentence, but it's not a pretty sentence. I'm not sure how to recast it more gracefully, though. I might add a comma after "knowledge" -- but I tend to over-comma, so you should get a second opinion.

  • As has been pointed out, the written sentence is problematic with or without another comma. (In speech, it is fine due to emphasis.) It is much clearer in written form with a rearrangement such as: Bob, that resource is, to my knowledge, currently unsupported. – mgkrebbs Jun 29 '11 at 18:35
  • @mgkrebs: Yer right. Monica posted her answer while I was still typing mine. It's unfair that she writes both better AND faster than I. – sjl Jul 1 '11 at 9:25

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