sentence fragment


: a word, phrase, or clause that usually has in speech the intonation of a sentence but lacks the grammatical structure usually found in the sentences of formal and especially written composition

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web The text Wujing's man sent was a sentence fragment — a grammar faux pas that an exacting polyglot like Dembe would never make. Tanya Melendez,, 3 Apr. 2023 His final version ends on a sentence fragment—a dramatic reminder that arcadias may well be unfinishable. Tess Taylor, WSJ, 7 May 2021 Roger is partial to sentence fragments; Antonia has to supply the rest. New York Times, 6 Apr. 2020 Manuscript Writer constructs an introduction, for example, by pulling sentences and sentence fragments from a set of open-access references and laying them out in what appears to be no particular order. Daniel Engber, Slate Magazine, 12 Dec. 2017 Even the emoluments clause, little more than a sentence fragment, gets more notice nowadays. James W. Lucas, National Review, 8 Dec. 2017

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'sentence fragment.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1947, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of sentence fragment was in 1947

Dictionary Entries Near sentence fragment

Cite this Entry

“Sentence fragment.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Jun. 2023.

Kids Definition

sentence fragment

: a word, phrase, or clause that lacks the self-contained structure of a sentence but is written and punctuated like a complete sentence
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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