What are fragmented sentences and can I have an example?
1 2 3
Basically, fragmented sentences (or sentence fragments) are just that: pieces of sentences, or incomplete sentences. They do not have a subject + finite verb + any other necessary parts, actual or implied:

'Happily dancing on the table.'

'I got.'

'Everywhere, in the darkest corners of her soul, whether the others knew it or not.'
By a fragmented sentence I assume you mean a group of words that begins with a capital letter and ends with a period, exclamation point, or question mark, but that does not have all of the pieces that grammar requires. Common sentence fragments may be divided into verb sentences and verbless sentences.

A. Verb-sentence fragments.
--1. The imperative construction is considered standard. Still, an explicit subject is missing.
-----[You] Run to the store.
-----[You] Jump!
--2. In spoken English, one may encounter sentence fragments with omitted subjects.
-----(It)Seems cruel, doesn't it?
-----(I)Had a pretty bad night last night.
--3. A transistive verb or copula (such as "be," "become," or "seem") without a complement is a true fragment and is not standard English.
-----Edgar struck.
-----The chair recognized.
-----Barnwell seems.
--4. "Some intransitive verbs are felt as incomplete unless they are modified in some way."
-----"He lay." feels like a fragment, unlike "He lay quietly" or "He lay on the sofa."
--5. "If the verb and its subject are subordinated to some other construction they do not constitute a sentence."
-----"That I may go." is a fragment. "I may go" is a sentence.
-----"While I answered promptly" is a fragment. "I answered promptly" is a sentence.

B. Verbless-sentence fragments. These are common and understandable to the native speaker, but they pose problems for the learner of English.
-----If only I had taken Mother's advice[, things would have turned out better].
-----The insults I had to put up with [at the office]!
-----The nerve of some people [is too much to bear]!
----- Because I wanted to.
----- Good morning.
-----[This is] A pretty kettle of fish.
-----[I'll do] Whatever you say.
-----[Have you] Had enough?
-----To all intents and purposes, none [of the suggestions were helpful].
-----[Their readiness was] Not anywhere near good enough to meet the situation.
-----[It is] Probably so.
-----[Their praise was] Music to an author's ears.
-----[She had only] Conversational awareness.
-----[Hearing about it was helpful] But not the same [as being there].

Quotations and paraphrases of Understanding Grammar by Paul Roberts.
Teachers: We supply a list of EFL job vacancies
rvw - this is a great discussion of freagmented sentences, and I'm sure many members will find it very helpful. I have only one quibble:

-----The insults I had to put up with [at the office]!

In this case, I don't see that the words in brackets do anything to make the sentence more complete. Maybe something like:
The insults I had to put up with [were numerous!]
or [Imagine] the insults I had to put up with.

Otherwise I think it's a great list - thanks for posting it!
It is a great list and I hope it helps ESLs realize that "sentence fragments" are exceedingly common indeed. The LGSWE calls them "non-clausal material" [ncm], perhaps to get away from the pejorative connotations 'sentence fragments' holds.

LGSWE: ... non-clausal material is found in writing as well as speech and extends far beyond ellipsis, where missing elements can be precisely recovered from the context.

... two defining characteristics ... : a) internally it cannot be analysed in terms of clause structure, and b) it is not analysable as part of any neighbouring clause.

Interestingly, we find ncm in running written text ... , ncm is also found occasionally in academic prose, especially in textbooks:

ncm is far more common in conversation than in the written registers.


This, as noted by RVW, is one of the greatest challenges for ESLs. Conversation just ain't what the textbooks say it is. Speaking isn't ruled by the same set of restrictions that writing is, for obvious reasons. But that doesn't mean, as many people would suggest/do suggest, that speech is less grammatical than writing.

This also illustrates the folly of using Grammar-Translation as a way to teach a language. Now don't fly off the handle and suggest that I'm advocating dumping grammar. Teaching patterns of grammar in a full and rich context is teaching grammar. It's just a method that is a hell of a lot more successful.
Dear khoff,

Thanks for catching my mistake (not Paul Robert's). It's odd that I would miss a fragment while talking about fragments.

If I could (EnglishForward !), I would edit that example to yours: "[Imagine] The insults I had to put up with."

Dear ranchhand,

I like this description:
LGSWE: ... non-clausal material is found in writing as well as speech and extends far beyond ellipsis, where missing elements can be precisely recovered from the context.

This is another argument for immersing oneself in a language when trying to learn it. If there are 100 rules, there are 10000 exceptions.
Site Hint: Check out our list of pronunciation videos.
Proficient in productivity and profitability through process management and team effort from our people.
fragmented sectences are incomplete thoughts e.g On one hand the economy is well situated.... it hasn't gone on to complete the thought (on the other hand)
Developed concept to introduce leading US business management software to the SME market in .
Students: We have free audio pronunciation exercises.
Show more