© 2017 Steve Campsall
|the 'minor' sentence|
'What's the cat doing?'
'Sitting on the mat.'
A sentence is called minor not because its length but because it is grammatically incomplete. In the above dialogue, 'Sitting on the mat.' is a minor sentence.
Minor sentences break the grammatical rules of sentence formation but they are a commonplace in speech (especially as interjections, e.g. 'Never in a million years!' ). They are also used in written dialogue and poetry when the writer wishes to create a conversational tone. AN example is in the following extract from the poem, 'Valentine', by Carol Ann Duffy:
Not a red rose or a satin heart.
I give you an onion.
It is a moon wrapped in brown paper.
It promises light
like the careful undressing of love.
It will blind you with tears
like a lover.
It will make your reflection
a wobbling photo of grief.
Can you identify the two minor sentences in the extract?
What is their stylistic effect?