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run-on sentence


run-on sentence

In prescriptive grammar, two independent clauses that have been run together without an appropriate conjunction and/or mark of punctuation between them.

Usage guides commonly identify two kinds of run-on sentences: fused sentences and comma splices.


Four Ways of Correcting Run-on Sentences:

  1. Run-on Sentences:
    • Adam is a sweet boy he really loves animals.
    • Adam is a sweet boy, he really loves animals.
    To correct a run-on sentence, make it into two simple sentences. Put a period at the end of the first subject and verb group. Start the second sentence with a capital letter.
    Correct Sentences:
    Adam is a sweet boy. He really loves animals.
    (Jill Singleton, Writers at Work: The Paragraph. Cambridge Univ. Press, 2005)

  2. Sometimes two sentences are very closely related in meaning and full end-stop punctuation may seem too strong. A semicolon can then be used to divide the two sentences. . . .
    Run-on: It was a beautiful day there was not a cloud in the sky.
    Correct: It was a beautiful day; there was not a cloud in the sky.
    (Phil Pine, Master the SAT 2008. Peterson's, 2007)

  3. A run-on sentence can sometimes be prevented by using a comma and joining word (coordinate conjunction) to join sentences together.
    Wrong: John went to the movies x Sue stayed home.
    Correct: John went to the movies, and Sue stayed home.
    (Christopher Smith et al., How to Prepare for the GED. Barron's, 2004)

  4. "[Another way to correct a run-on sentence is to] change the run-on to a complex sentence by placing a subordinating conjunction before one of the clauses:
    Run-on: I don't play tennis well I have a poor backhand.
    Correct: I don't play tennis well because I have a poor backhand.
    (P. Choy and D.G. Clarke, Basic Grammar and Usage. Cengage, 2005)
  • Run-ons and Comma Splices
    "The presence or absence of a comma--and therefore the distinction between a run-on sentence and a comma splice--isn't usually noteworthy. So most writers class the two problems together as run-on sentences.

    "But the distinction can be helpful in differentiating between the wholly unacceptable (true run-on sentences) and the usually-but-not-always unacceptable (comma splices). That is, most usage authorities accept comma splices when (1) the clauses are short and closely related, (2) there is no danger of a miscue, and (3) the context is informal. Thus: 'Jane likes him, I don't.' But even when all three criteria are met, some readers are likely to object. And in any event a dash seems preferable to a comma in a sentence like that one."
    (Bryan A. Garner, The Oxford Dictionary of American Usage and Style. Oxford University Press, 2000)
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