Suppose the players of a team are sad over losing a game:

The team just lost a close game. Hence the sadness.

Is the second sentence a complete sentence?

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No, it is not. You are correct in noticing that it's a sentence fragment.

English speakers often -- when in any but the most formal register -- use sentence fragments. For effect.

Not technically correct, but very popular.

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As the other answers say, yes, it is a sentence fragment. The full sentence might be something like "Hence, there was sadness." That would make the sentece a complete one, because there is at least one verb ('was,' it is not commonly thought of as a verb) and a noun ('sadness').

If you were to say it, it would be acceptable, because everyone simplifies sentences in speech. But if you were to write it in an essay or such, you would have to add just a few words to make it appropriate.

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I agree that it is not a complete sentence. Perhaps joining the two with an em dash might work. The team just lost a close game–hence the sadness.

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  • 1
    Or just a comma. Since "hence" can be used as a conjunction, "The team just lost a close game, hence the sadness," seems correct. – Watercleave Jun 10 '14 at 9:42

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