What Is A Sentence Fragment?

What Is A Sentence Fragment?

Writers Write creates resources for writers. In this post, we explain a sentence fragment.

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.

It is defined as a fragment when 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:

  1. ‘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)
  2. Out, damned spot!‘ (William Shakespeare, Macbeth)
  3. ‘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)
  4. ‘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)
  5. ‘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)

More posts on sentences:

  1. 6 Ways To Shorten Your Sentences And Improve Your Writing
  2. 7 Tips For Writing Great Sentences
  3. How To Structure A Sentence
  4. The Importance Of Varying Sentence Length
  5. The 4 Types Of Sentences

[Top Tip: If you need practical help with your grammar, buy The Complete Grammar Workbook.]

Posted on: 7th February 2014