1. Zombie_Chinchilla
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    Zombie_Chinchilla Member

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    Sentence Fragments

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Zombie_Chinchilla, Sep 11, 2010.

    Lately, I've been seeing a lot of well-written novels include sentence fragments to increase suspense. Personally, I'm all for it. But I'm curious about your opinions. Be creative and screw the "no fragments" rule, or listen to your high school English teacher?
     
  2. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    I am all for pushing the boundaries I like it both ways. I like reading Grassic Gibbon style long run on sentences as well.
     
  3. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    You use syntax (structure of sentences) to create different tones.

    Polysyndeton (longer sentences with more than one clause and words like "and," "but," "while," etc with commas) create a tone that's relaxed, meandering, calm.

    Asyndeton (choppier, one clause, can sometimes be fragments if done correctly) create a hectic tone.

    Note the difference:

    1. The storm raged outside, and rain sliced through the window's frost, but Carey was alone inside.

    compared with...

    2. The storm raged outside. Rain sliced through the window's frost. Carey was alone inside.

    See what I mean? :) One seems cozy, the other a bit tense and foreboding.

    ------------------------------------------

    Edited to add --

    I just saw the thing on fragments. It works if done well. If not, not.

    What works: Carey walked up to the school. Everyone stood in groups. Everyone but her. (Creating choppiness to create a chaotic tone, which is what you'd want if you're writing about how she's an outcast or something.)

    What doesn't work: Carey walked up to the school, talking with her friends. About their new English teacher. (and then you go on with a really polysyndetic and flowy style, so the fragment just seems out of place and weird)
     
  4. Chudz
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    Chudz Contributing Member

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    Personally, I'm fine with using fragments in fiction as long as they don't fall into overuse.
     
  5. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Sentence fragments are frowned upon in formal writing, such as scientific papers and academic dissertations.

    For fiction? No problem, as long as you don't overdo it. Fragments are often used for emphasis.

    Yes, for emphasis.
     
  6. Taylee91
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    Taylee91 Carpe Diem Contributor

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    I'm for fragments too. They do give an edge to a writer's prose, but also an appealing form for anyone, who can read, to understand. Fragments give the writer an easier time if they are writing a narrative as well.
     
  7. Annûniel
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    Annûniel Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't like fragments personally. Though I won't mind a couple here and there scattered throughout a book. But if the author continually does this, its a huge turn off for me. Does s/he really need to emphasize the point so often by using fragments? If so I might start to question his/her ability to capture a reader...
     
  8. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Sentence fragments are fine. They're just another weapon in a writer's arsenal, and I find that they're very effective when used after a long, winding sentence that lulls the reader into a state of relaxation; an almost trance-like state. Then, boom! Fragment. And the reader wakes up.
     
  9. Naiyn
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    Naiyn Contributing Member

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    I love fragments-- at least on occasion. It can be a nice mix with longer and medium length sentences that creates a rhythm. I don't always achieve this rhythm in my own writing, but its always a goal I shoot for.
     
  10. white
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    white Banned

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    I love fragments and run-ons and long, meandering sentences and everything in-between.
     
  11. Melzaar the Almighty
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    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

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    I used to use them quite a lot, but either I've stopped being so over-dramatic or I've grown out of it, 'cause I can't remember the last time I swore at Word when it made a green wiggly line under my latest fragment. :p I probably still use them, but not so often it makes me angry now so it doesn't occur to me to think about them. :p
     
  12. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    they're useful and sometimes even necessary, to avoid wordiness... and there's no rule saying you can't use them for fiction... just word them carefully and use them well...
     

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