Sentence fragment

A fragmented sentence is a sentence that cannot stand on its own, since it is not a complete sentence. Another way of putting this is to say that a fragmented sentence is something that starts with a capital letter and ends with a full stop (i.e. an orthographic sentence, see definition below), but which does not contain a main clause.

The examples below are intended to show how a fragmentation can affect a sentence, and what can be done to improve the sentence in question. In (1) we can see a typical example of a sentence fragment:

(1) Many single parents leave their babies in day nurseries for the whole day. Because they cannot afford to work part-time.

The problem is that the second orthographic sentence (see definition below) is just a dependent clause, and dependent clauses cannot stand on their own. They have to be part of some larger structure, such as a main clause.

The solution is to either use a comma instead of a full-stop, as in (2), or to make the dependent clause into a sentence, as in (3):

(2) Many single parents leave their babies in day nurseries for the whole day, because they cannot afford to work part-time.

(3) Many single parents leave their babies in day nurseries for the whole day. The reason is that they cannot afford to work part-time.

Definition: Orthographic sentence (click to expand/contract)

Definition of 'orthographic sentence'
"A sentence according to the normal conventions of written language: i.e. a minimal segment of text which begins and ends with sentence-boundary markers (normally this means beginning with a capital letter and ending with a full-stop" (Lancaster University, glossary, n.d.)