Four and a half types of sentence

Types of sentence

Fragments

The last sentence type we are going to talk about isn’t really a type at all, it’s a fragment. Fragments feel like they are just pieces of sentences. Here’s an example.

Then complete silence.

Burning for RevengeJohn MarsdenSource

The thing you notice about fragments is they don’t make sense by themselves, usually because they’re missing a verb group or a subject.

Here are three more fragments. Do they make sense on their own?

Gray, west.

Treasure IslandRobert Louis StevensonSource

And all night.

The Story of Tracy BeakerJacqueline WilsonSource

"And bring Pathfinder and Sojourner rover back with him."

The MartianAndy Weir

Now here are the same snippets with some more context. Do the fragments make more sense with the added context?

He turned and spoke to us, "Doctor's watch on the lookout. Dr. Livesey take the north side, if you please; Jim, the east; Gray, west."

Treasure IslandRobert Louis StevensonSource

Once they locked me up all day long. And all night.

The Story of Tracy BeakerJacqueline WilsonSource

"He can get there and back with supplies on hand."

"And bring Pathfinder and Sojourner rover back with him," Mindy added.

The MartianAndy Weir
That last fragment has a verb in it. Doesn't that make it a whole sentence?

Fragments are often used to continue a pattern (like the sea captain's list of locations: the north, the east, the west) or for emphasis (because they often sound punchy).

Here’s a snippet with an exclamation and a punchy fragment. Let's try writing our own variations.

"Tom !"

No answer.

The Adventures of Tom SawyerMark TwainSource

“Walter!”

Silence.

"Hello?"

Just a groan.

"No!"

Too late.

Your turn
Your turn
What's the difference between an exclamation and a fragment?

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