Writing Tips: Piece of My Heart: Sentence Fragments

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Photo by Leslie Wells

A sentence fragment is a sentence that’s missing a subject or a verb. The only time it’s okay to use a sentence fragment is in dialogue, or when you are showing a character’s thoughts, as below:

Now for a few safety pins to add a punk edge. I attached a few to my sleeve.

Here are a few examples of sentence fragments:

Vicky stomped up the stairs in a short skirt and heels. The ones she could afford since her new company paid well.

Edited sentence: Vicky stomped up the stairs in a short skirt and heels, which she could afford since her new company paid well.

Jack poured champagne for us both. And tapped his glass against mine.

Edited sentence: Jack poured champagne for us both, and tapped his glass against mine.

With a wicked laugh, Jack got up from the floor. To help me off the mink, which looked a little worse for wear.

Edited sentence: With a wicked laugh, Jack got up from the floor to help me off the mink, which looked a little worse for wear.

Have a question about writing? Comment or email me at leslie@lesliewellsbooks.com

Leslie Wells has edited forty-nine New York Times bestsellers in her thirty-year publishing career. She is the author of Come Dancing, a novel about book publishing and rock and roll, set in New York City in the 1980s. Visit her at www.lesliewellsbooks.com

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