What Is A Sentence Fragment?
A sentence fragment is a phrase or clause written as a sentence, the first word starting with a capital letter and the sentence ending with a full stop, a question mark or an exclamation mark. Either the subject or the finite verb that defines an independent sentence is missing.
Fragments should not be used in business writing, but they are perfectly acceptable if you use them in creative writing.
Five Examples of Sentence Fragments:
- ‘He walked out in the grey light and stood and he saw for a brief moment the absolute truth of the world. The cold relentless circling of the intestate earth. Darkness implacable. The blind dogs of the sun in their running. The crushing black vacuum of the universe. And somewhere two hunted animals trembling like ground-foxes in their cover. Borrowed time and borrowed world and borrowed eyes with which to sorrow it.‘ (Cormac McCarthy, The Road)
- ‘Out, damned spot!‘ (William Shakespeare, Macbeth)
- ‘Count yourself lucky to have escaped with your life. Count yourself lucky not to be a prisoner in the car at this moment, speeding away, or at the bottom of a donga with a bullet in your head. Count Lucy lucky too. Above all Lucy.’ (JM Coetzee, Disgrace)
- ‘Most places in the world, a statement like that sounded normal. Unfriendly, perhaps, but still common, still acceptable. Most places, but not at a Catholic church.’ (Scott Sigler, Nocturnal)
- ‘I’m home, but the house is gone. Not a sandbag, not a nail or a scrap of wire.‘ (Tim O’Brien, LZ Gator, Vietnam. The New York Times Magazine)
If you want to improve your business writing, join us for The Plain Language Programme.
© Amanda Patterson
If you enjoyed this article, read these posts:
- How to Deflate those Inflated Phrases
- The Ellipsis
- Semicolons and Colons
- Between you and me
- Commonly confused abbreviations: etc., i.e., e.g.
- Hyphens & Dashes
- Punctuation and Dialogue
- That or Which – Which one should I use?
- The 12 Worst Mistakes People Make In Email Subject Lines
- Begin at the end – the one essential email trick every business writer should know
- Apostrophes Explained
Become a Writers Write patron:
We love what we do. If you’re inspired, educated, or entertained by our posts, please give us a donation.