Systematic asymptotic methods are used to formulate a model for the extensional flow of a thin sheet of nematic liquid crystal. With no external body forces applied, the model is found to be equivalent to the so-called Trouton model for Newtonian sheets (and fibres), albeit with a modified 'Trouton ratio'. However, with a symmetry-breaking electric field gradient applied, behaviour deviates from the Newtonian case, and the sheet can undergo finite-time breakup if a suitable destabilizing field is applied. Some simple exact solutions are presented to illustrate the results in certain idealized limits, as well as sample numerical results to the full model equations. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2013.