By Susan Reichert, Editor-in-Chief for Southern Writers Magazine
Well, I am sure we all, at one time or another, have felt fragmented. You know that moment you feel like you are broken into bits and pieces. Hopefully, we don’t stay that way too long, it can be debilitating. Or those times we are utterly disorganized and having a hard time pulling things together.
Now, that’s what a fragmented sentence is like. They are bits and pieces of words but they don’t make a complete sentence. Why? They’re lacking a proper subject-verb relationship within an independent clause. So what is an independent clause? Any group of words containing both a subject and a verb and can stand on its own. To me the fragmented sentence is like having a few pieces of the puzzle Without all the pieces I can’t finish, therefore I won’t see the whole picture. To find more info on fragmented sentences check Capital Community College website.
There are times we do use fragmented sentences in writing, like when we are trying to convey a special tone or meaning. Here are a couple of examples from Moonraker by Ian Fleming and Journey Home by Edward Abbey: “He looked levelly at the great red face across the desk. It's a remarkable case-history. Galloping paranoia. Delusions of jealousy and persecution. Megalomaniac hatred and desire for revenge." (Ian Fleming, Moonraker, 1955)
Read more at this link. "The hawk sailing by at 200 feet, a squirming snake in its talons. Salt in the drinking water. Salt, selenium, arsenic, radon and radium in the water in the gravel in your bones." (Edward Abbey, Journey Home)
A fragmented sentence can be a useful tool to a writer if used correctly. It can get across what a writer wants to say using fewer words. So when you see that line under a sentence you’ve written, go back, reread the sentence, does it need to be revised? Is it conveying what you want to say and the way you want to say it?