A complaint (by others, not our client) was made about a heading on a website we recently finished. They have a large header with this statement/sentence:

Transforming the Lives of Orphaned & Impoverished Children.

The issue in question was the period, which indicated a sentence.

My specific question is: Is that a complete sentence (implied subject or no)?

A broader question would be: Do mission statements need to be complete sentences, or can they be "complete" inasmuch as the context is determined by the company/organization to which they belong.

  • (1) What does it matter what you call it? There is disagreement over the accepted definition of 'sentence' (on ELU and elsewhere) anyway, periods can be used in other circumstances, and the correct question is 'Is the following acceptable?' I'd call it a 'sentence fragment', and judge the correctness of the period differently. (2) More generally (mission statements are really too arbitrary and style-orientated for discussion in a general English usage site), language should be clear and concise, and, as far as possible, stylishly pleasing. Your fragment sounds fine and its style is in line... Oct 7, 2016 at 13:24
  • with many other aims declared by bodies (eg Newborough – working towards a natural resource plan // Working towards a healthy you – Royal College of Nursing). Whether they fulfil what some people expect of a 'Mission Statement' is another matter, and needs checking with people who have decided they are able to rigorously define the term (though I doubt such groups will agree totally among themselves). As to the inclusion of the period – it's unusual to use one in a heading, and is obviously unnecessary to indicate the end of the heading. Fragments may or may not be closed with periods; ... Oct 7, 2016 at 13:25
  • only die-hard prescriptivists would insist that there is a stricter rule. tko at AbsoluteWrite gives sensible advice. Like her, I'd use periods after fragments in running prose. But I'd not use them in titles / headings (and I don't write poetry). Oct 7, 2016 at 13:31
  • @EdwinAshworth Yes. Right. Of course. That's it.
    – Kris
    Oct 8, 2016 at 10:43

1 Answer 1


Obviously, that's not a sentence -- it's a noun clause -- and does not end in a period. Calling it a Mission Statement is a very loose application of grammar where the reader is expected to understand that the list consists of objectives of the mission, not independent standalone statements (sentences). HTH.

  • 1
    It's a sentence fragment, and the subject or a sensible paraphrase (Our Mission Statement / Our Aim) is very easily recoverable here. Whether a mission statement is more binding than a list of aspirations is moot, but politicians notoriously conflate the two anyway. Sentence fragments may or may not be terminated with a period. In a header, one is hardly necessary, but some of these googled examples use a period sensibly (though in the corresponding articles, they drop it in the headers). Oct 7, 2016 at 13:00
  • What has calling something a Mission Statement to do with grammar?
    – Helmar
    Oct 7, 2016 at 13:52
  • @Helmar A statement is expected to be grammatical (-ly complete and correct) -- in the context of our discussing it on ELU. Elsewhere, it may be a different matter.
    – Kris
    Oct 8, 2016 at 10:46
  • @Kris the OP asks about mission statements in general. There is no rule for the grammaticality constraints they have to fulfill. You cannot arbitrarily impose requirements on an undefined thing.
    – Helmar
    Oct 8, 2016 at 14:36
  • @Helmar "My specific question is: Is that a complete sentence (implied subject or no)?" HTH. I 'm sure the down vote is not yours.
    – Kris
    Oct 10, 2016 at 10:07

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