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Minor sentences - help please

Discussion in 'English' started by Honeydew, Jun 17, 2015.

  1. Honeydew

    Honeydew New commenter

    Hope some of you experts can help me. Most of the definitions of a minor sentence state it does not contain a finite verb (although it can contain non-finite verbs). But is that strictly true? In some fictional writing, you can have minor sentences like 'She walked and walked. Walked. Walked for miles. Walked for days.' I have looked at lots of Grammar books but I'm struggling to understand how to define a minor sentence. Defintions and examples vary.

    Can someone please help me get to grips with this? Cheers
  2. markuss

    markuss Occasional commenter

    Good point.

    The term was invented because it used to be said that sentences have to have finite verbs.

    But this is patently untrue. Lots of "Fog everywhere" sentences!

    And "non sentences" did not seem right. Your sentences are another form of what I would call "non-SV" sentences.

    It's the terminology / definition that's poor (in my view).
  3. Honeydew

    Honeydew New commenter

    Thanks for replying Markuss - much appreciated :). I'm trying to think of a way of defining a minor sentence and how it's used to create certain effects, but when I use the definition most Grammar books use, I get lost! These definitions don't seem to match with the examples I have found, and yet I know my examples are considered minor sentences. How would you define a minor sentence? I'd be grateful for some direction.
  4. gruoch

    gruoch Established commenter

    David Crystal's 'Rediscover Grammar' is invaluable for this kind of thing. Cheap paperback.
  5. Clive_Candy

    Clive_Candy Occasional commenter

    FWIW and observing the KISS principle, I always tell my students a minor sentence is a sentence that does not contain a verb. Therefore, "Me!" is a minor sentence, for example.

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