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Run Ons

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What Is a Run-on?

A run-on is when two sentences are "combined," or "run together" without the necessary connecting words or punctuation (or both of these!).

How to Identify a Run-on?
  • If two sentences are written together without any punctuation at all, this is a fused sentence.

For example:

This is a fused sentence because there is no period between the two sentences.

  • Marie got As on her report card her parents took her out to dinner.
  • Marie got As on her report card. Her parents took her out to dinner.

If we add a period, we get two complete sentences.

  • If two sentences are combined using only a comma, without a connecting word (such as "and, but, or, nor, for, so, yet"), this is called a comma splice.

For example:

This is a comma splice sentence.

  • Halloween is next week, I'm going to eat so much candy.
  • Halloween is next week, and I'm going to eat so much candy.

If we add a connecting word, we get one complete sentence.

How to Correct a Run-on?

1. Put a period between the two sentences.

For example:

This is a run-on.

  • Lisa was extremely sick she had to go to the hospital.
  • Lisa was extremely sick. She had to go to the hospital.

Now these are two good sentences.

2. Connect the two sentences with a comma and a coordinating conjunction (and, but, nor, for, so, or, yet). This forms a compound sentence.

For example:

This is a run-on.

  • It's raining we don't want to go outside.
  • It's raining, so we don't want to go outside.

This is a good sentence.

3. Connect the two sentences with a semicolon.

For example:

This is a run-on.

  • The diving board is fun the slide is even better!
  • The diving board is fun; the slide is even better!

This is a good sentence.

4. Connect the two sentences with a semicolon and a word or phrase to explain the relationship between the two sentences (however, therefore, then, as a result, consequently, also, in contrast, nevertheless, on the other hand, etc.).

For example:

This is a run-on.

  • Sarah is a good driver she got in an accident.
  • Sarah is a good driver; nevertheless, she got in an accident.

This is a good sentence.

5. Connect the two sentences by inserting one as a dependent clause. You will often use a dependent clause signal word to do this (because, if, although, which, who, when). This forms a complex sentence.

For example:

This is a run-on.

  • Grandma is coming at noon she is bringing my birthday cake!
  • Grandma, who is bringing my birthday cake, is coming at noon!

This is a good sentence.

Summary
  • run-on is when two sentences are "combined," or "run togetherwithout the necessary connecting words or punctuation (or both of these!).
  • How to identify a run-on:
    • If two sentences are written together without any punctuation at all, this is a fused sentence.
    • If two sentences are combined using only a comma, without a connecting word (such as "and, but, or, nor, for, so, yet"), this is called a comma splice.
  • We can correct run-on in the following ways:
    • Put a period between the two sentences.
    • Connect the two sentences with a comma and a coordinating conjunction. This forms a compound sentence.
    • Connect the two sentences with a semicolon.
    • Connect the two sentences with a semicolon and a word or phrase to explain the relationship between the two sentences.
    • Connect the two sentences by inserting one as a dependent clause. This forms a complex sentence.

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