3

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?

6
  • 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, 2011 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, 2011 at 16:05
  • I find MS Office frequently tags such sentences as fragments, when the comma is missing. See the answer from @jackgill. Jun 29, 2011 at 16:43
  • @jackgill yes, precisely. Jun 29, 2011 at 19:41
  • Get Bob on here; then you can start with '@Bob'. Together we can change the world! Jun 29, 2011 at 20:58

3 Answers 3

12

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?

4
  • This is much clearer than the original or my answer.
    – jackgill
    Jun 29, 2011 at 16:07
  • 1
    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, 2011 at 16:10
  • Better than my answer, too.
    – sjl
    Jun 29, 2011 at 19:00
  • "Bob" was a specific person I was addressing in a multiple user email chain. Jun 29, 2011 at 19:39
11

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.

8
  • 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, 2011 at 15:56
  • 5
    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. Jun 29, 2011 at 16:03
  • 1
    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, 2011 at 16:05
  • 1
    @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. Jun 29, 2011 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, 2011 at 16:53
6

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.

2
  • 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, 2011 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, 2011 at 9:25

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.