Queen’s English Fragments that Enhance

We are taught to use complete sentences when we write, that every sentence should contain a subject, a verb, and convey a complete thought.  However, Roy Peter Clark in his “Glamour of Grammar” maintains that there are times when sentence fragments can be injected into your prose for powerful effect.  From Mark Haddon’s “Spot of Bother”:
 [As he was dressing], he noticed a small oval of puffed flesh on his hip, darker than the surrounding skin and flaking slightly.  His stomach rose and he was forced to swallow a small amount of vomit which appeared at the back of his mouth

 That single word, standing alone is like a shotgun blast.

 A series of short fragments can create a vivid picture.  From an essay by Wright Thompson:

Only ghosts remain at Mark McGuire’s boyhood home in Claremont, California.  Bits of pieces of a former life.  Things left behind.  The pink and white chairs in the living room.  The white wrap-around couch.  The blue wallpaper upstairs.

The colorful description on the back cover of Jennifer Lee’s “The Fortune Cookie Chronicles” is compelling:

One woman.
One great mystery.
One consuming obsession.
Forty thousand restaurants.

The journalist Jacquir Banaszynski uses fragments effectively to describe a Turkish refugee’s plight:

Toothpaste.  And tooth brushes.  Ten of them.  One for himself, his wife, and each of their eight children.  Is that too much to ask?  The man who calls himself Ali Ahmet wants to know.

 The sentence fragment as a purposeful strategy can:

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