SENTENCE FRAGMENTS IN MAJOR US NETWORK NEWS BROADCASTS:THE NIGHTLY NEWS ON ABC, CBS, AND NBC
In this paper, the author reports on the follow-up to his earlier work on assessing the uses of sentence fragments in the nightly news programs of the major US television networks. In that earlier work ('Stylistyka' XI (2002), pp. 315-323), he had called attention to the very high incidence of sentence fragments, and of a particular kind of fragment, in the NBC newscasts. That particular kind of fragment is very similar grammatically to the absolute phrase (AKA absolute clause), and such fragments made up nearly half of the fragments in the transcripts he studied. In this follow-up report, he has studied the newscasts of the other two major news networks in the US -ABC and CBS-during the same time period, November 29-December 1, 2000. It turns out that the preference for the absolute phrase fragment style of NBC almost certainly constitutes a house style; the transcripts of the ABC and CBS broadcasts are not nearly as rich in fragments as the NBC transcripts are. In this report the author has also attempted to show the extent to which certain newsmen and women have used or not used such constructions in these broadcasts.
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