Run-on Sentences


"A run-on sentence is a sentence in which two or more independent clauses (that is, complete sentences) are joined with no punctuation or conjunction.... A run-on sentence does not mean a sentence is too long; longer sentences are likely to be run-ons only when they contain more than one complete idea. A run-on sentence can be as short as four words—for instance: I drive she walks. In this case there are two complete ideas (independent clauses): two subjects paired with two (intransitive) verbs. So long as clauses are punctuated appropriately, a writer can assemble multiple independent clauses in a single sentence; in fact, a properly constructed sentence can be extended indefinitely." (Wikipedia)


Examples


A run-on sentence, with no punctuation or conjunction between "five" and "we":
  • It is nearly half past five we cannot reach town before dark.

A comma splice, which is considered a run-on sentence by some grammarians:
  • It is nearly half past five, we cannot reach town before dark.

Ways to avoid run-on sentences

Write the two clauses as two separate sentences:
  • It is nearly half past five. We cannot reach town before dark.
  • Henry Whopper was a teller of tall tales. He even told them to his teachers.

Insert a coordinating conjunction (such as "and" or "but") after the comma:
  • It is nearly half past five, so we cannot reach town before dark.
  • Henry Whopper was a teller of tall tales, and he even told them to his teachers.

Insert a semi-colon between the clauses:
  • It is nearly half past five; we cannot reach town before dark.
  • Henry Whopper was a teller of tall tales; he even told them to his teachers.

Insert a semi-colon and a transitional word between the clauses:
  • It is nearly half past five; therefore, we cannot reach town before dark.
  • Henry Whopper was a teller of tall tales; in fact, he even told them to his teachers.

Click here to view an excellent Brainpop on run ons.

Last modified: Thursday, 14 June 2012, 4:19 PM