I read an article in a newspaper and was wondering if what I read was a sentence fragment.

The sentence/fragment in question is:

Which is why we believe the proposed amendments should be passed.

Wouldn't this be a subordinate clause fragment with "which" being the relative pronoun as the subject and is as the main verb?

Isn't any sentence starting with "Which" a fragment?

  • Valid sentences can start with which. Which action we take will be decided by the lawyers. Jun 5, 2019 at 18:36
  • .../ Which is the best way to go? // You have probably been taught somewhere along the line that sentence fragments are always to be avoided like the plague. Not so. In less formal registers, they can work very well (though they can also be overworked). I'd like to know which newspaper the above sentence fragment appeared in (and of course if it's a quote, the primary source and occasion). //// By the way, hello, AlwaysLearning, and glad to hear it. Why don't you look up 'sentence fragment' in an ELU search to see if you can find any additional information? Jun 5, 2019 at 18:47
  • First off...thank you all for such a prompt response! Secondly, I mixed up the source. Good news (I guess) was that it was from a Uni writing center. owl.purdue.edu/owl/general_writing/mechanics/…. They say "You may have noticed that newspaper and magazine journalists often use a dependent clause as a separate sentence when it follows clearly from the preceding main clause, as in [my example]. This is a conventional journalistic practice. For academic writing and other more formal writing situations, however, you should avoid. Jun 5, 2019 at 19:04
  • To you concur with their advice? Jun 5, 2019 at 19:08
  • @PeterShor In your example, "action" is the subject of "decided" whereas in my example "Which" is the subject of is. So it is okay to start a sentence with "which" as long as it isn't the subject? Jun 5, 2019 at 19:10

1 Answer 1


Which can begin a complete sentence, both as a pronoun, and as an adjective.

Which sentence is correct?

Which of the sentences is correct cannot be determined.

That said, what you've quoted is not a complete sentence. This style of punctuation - using a period instead of a semicolon - is relatively common in non-formal texts. It makes the text appear more conversational, since we very often add subordinate clauses like this as an afterthought. In written texts, the period either suggests that the clause is an afterthought, or else it adds emphasis to the clause by separating it from the previous clause. Separating it more than a semicolon would.

  • Or starting the OP's sentence with "That is why..." Jun 5, 2019 at 18:56
  • There is no syntactic difference between a semicolon and a period. Both separate independent clauses. If it's a fragment with one form of punctuation, it's still a fragment with the other form. So, I'm not sure what the latter part of your answer actually addresses. Jun 6, 2019 at 14:17

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