Run-on Sentences

Learning Objectives:

  • Identify run-on sentences.
  • Correct run-on sentences.

LESSON
In this lesson, you will learn how to identify and correct run-on sentencesA grammatical error that occurs when a sentence has two or more independent clauses joined together incorrectly.. A run-on sentence is a style error that occurs when a sentenceA group of words, phrases, or clauses that expresses a complete thought. A complete sentence has these characteristics: a capitalized first word, a subject and a predicate, and end punctuation, such as a period (.), question mark (?), or exclamation mark (!). has two or more independent clausesPart of a sentence that contains a subject and a predicate and can stand on its own as a complete sentence. Example independent clause: The boy ate the freshly picked apple with delight. The subject is the boy, the predicate is the verb ate, plus the modifiers the freshly picked apple with delight. joined without punctuationMarks such as such as a comma (,), period (.), question mark (?), and exclamation mark (!), among others, that help break a writing into phrases, clauses, and sentences. Different types of punctuation marks give the reader different impressions of the writer’s purpose in that sentence. (a period(.) A punctuation mark used to separate sentences. or semicolon(;) A punctuation mark used to connect major parts of sentences of equal grammatical rank. For example, semicolons are used to connect two independent clauses into one sentence.) or a conjunctionPart of speech that joins two or more words, phrases, or clauses. Examples of conjunctions include: and, but, if, because.. A conjunction is a word that joins two or more words, phrasesA set of words that express an idea. A phrase may or may not form a complete sentence., or clausesA group of words in a sentence that contains a subject and a predicate.. Examples of conjunctions include and, but, if, and because.

There are different types of conjunctions. Coordinating conjunctionsPart of speech that connects words, phrases, and independent clauses. The acronym FANBOYS—for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so—can help you remember coordinating conjunctions. connect words, phrases, and independent clauses. You can think of the acronym FANBOYS—for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so—to help you remember these coordinating conjunctions.

            Shelia went for a hike, and Chad went fishing.

Subordinating conjunctionsPart of speech that connects dependent clauses. A subordinating conjunction comes at the beginning of a dependent clause and shows the relationship between the clauses it connects. Examples of subordinating conjunctions include: after, if, while, unless. come at the beginning of a dependent clausePart of a sentence that contains a subject and a verb but is unable to stand on its own because it is incomplete in some way. Example of a dependent clause: Because it was a freshly picked apple, the boy ate it with delight. In this sentence, Because it was a freshly picked apple is a dependent clause. It has a subject (it) and a verb (was), but it cannot stand on its own without the second part of the sentence. and show the relationship between the clauses they are connecting. Examples of subordinating conjunctions include after, if, while, and unless.

            After the group completed the hiking trip, they stopped to get cold drinks at the general store.

The key to avoiding and revisingThe process of making changes to a work by editing and proofreading it to improve, correct, and increase clarity. run-on sentences is using proper punctuation or conjunctions. It is important to note that just because a sentence is long does not automatically mean it is a run-on. In fact, sometimes run-on sentences can be very short.

For example, this is a very short run-on sentence:

            I ran he walked.

In this example, there are two independent clauses strung together in one sentence without punctuation: I ran and he walked. There are four ways to revise this sentence.

Option 1: Separate the two independent clauses into two sentences:

            I ran. He walked.

Option 2: Add a comma and a coordinating conjunction:

            I ran, and he walked.

Option 3: Add a semicolon:

            I ran; he walked.

Option 4: Make one of the clauses into a dependent clause by adding a subordinating conjunction:

            While I ran, he walked.

+ PRACTICAL APPLICATION+ EXAMPLE+ YOUR TURN+ METACOGNITIVE QUESTION