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Run-On Sentences
At this time, you are ready to study RUN-ON SENTENCES. These sentence errors are just the
opposite of FRAGMENTS. A fragment is too short; a run-on is too long. If you forget the
subject or verb, the sentence is a FRAGMENT. If you try to combine too many clauses, or you
forget to use the correct punctuation or coordinating conjunctions, the sentence is a RUN-ON.
(If you write more than one complete sentence and connect them with just commas, they are a
special kind of run-on called COMMA SPLICE.)

EXAMPLES OF RUN-ON SENTENCES
Wrong: It's raining we need to take an umbrella with us.
Wrong: It's raining, we need to take an umbrella with us. (comma splice)
Correct: It's raining. We need to take an umbrella with us.
Correct: It's raining, so we need to take an umbrella with us.
Correct: Because it's raining, we need to take an umbrella with us.
Correct: It's raining; therefore, we need to take an umbrella with us.
How to fix a run-on sentence
There are at least five easy ways to connect sentences properly and avoid writing a run-on
sentence:
1. Use a coordinating conjunction:
They need to stay awake at work, so they drink coffee.
2. Use a subordinating conjunction:
Because they need to stay awake at work, they drink coffee.
They drink coffee at work because they need to stay awake.
3. Use a transitional expression:
They need to stay awake at work; therefore, they drink coffee.
They need to stay awake at work. Therefore, they drink coffee.
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4. Use end punctuation:
They need to stay awake at work. They drink coffee.
(Note: This option doesn't show a logical relationship between
the ideas, so use one of the other options when possible.)

5. Use relative clauses.
The teacher that we admire most is our Chemistry professor.
This is the place where I grew up.

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Lets try to correct these sentences!

1. The soup is delicious won't you have some? You will enjoy it, it
has cabbage and tomatoes.

Observation: Both sentences have two subjects and two
complete predicates. However, the first does not have any
punctuation, so it is a run-on sentence. The second uses
only a comma to separate the two complete clauses. It is
a comma splice.

Possible correction: The soup is delicious; wont you have some? You will
enjoy it because it has cabbages and tomatoes.

2. There is a mist over the Amazon jungle this morning it will dissipate
before noon. Mornings are beautiful here, so are evenings.

Observation: Both sentences have two subjects and two
complete predicates. However, the first does not have any
punctuation, so it is a run-on sentence. The second uses only a
comma to separate the two complete clauses. It is a comma
splice, and it is wrong.

Possible correction: There is a mist over the Amazon Jungle, but it will
dissipate before noon. Mornings are beautiful here and so are evenings.

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3. I would like to be in Tuilleries in Paris when the first snow is
just beginning to fall because it looks like such an amazing
place.

Observation: The sentence has three subjects ("I," "the first
snow," and "it") and three complete predicates, but it is not a
run-on sentence because the words "when" and "because"
connect the sentences correctly. There is no error in this
sentence.

4. Every child should have a dog, dogs teach children a sense of
responsibility and compassion. Dogs also make a house safe
because they guard their property from intruders.

Observation: All four clauses have a subject and a complete
predicate. However, the first sentence uses only a comma to
separate the two complete clauses. It is a comma splice, so it is
wrong. The second sentence is NOT a run-on sentence. The word
"because" correctly connects the ideas.

Possible correction: Every child should have a dog. Dogs teach children a
sense of responsibility and compassion. Dogs also make a house safe
because they guard their property from intruders.

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Exercises

1. Judy leads a charmed life she never seems to have a serious accident.
a. This sentence is correct
b. life, she
c. life; she

Answer: Judy leads a charmed life; she never seems to have a serious accident.
We have two INDEPENDENT CLAUSES here and they must be connected somehow.
We cant use the comma by itself without creating a COMMA SPLICE.

2. The show begins at 7:30 make sure youre there before 7:15.
a. This sentence is correct
b. 7:30, make
c. 7:30. Make

Answer: The show begins at 7:30. Make sure youre there before 7:15.
Our second sentence is a directive based on what was said in the first sentence.
Although the clauses are closely related, they still must be treated as independent
clauses. We could connect them with a comma + so, or we can leave them as two
separate sentences.

3. Marcellino always knew his way around the woods this is something he could always
depend on.
a. This sentence is correct
b. woods; this
c. woods, this

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Answer: Marcellino always knew his way around the woods; this is something he
could always depend on.
These clauses are clearly related; the pronoun this connects the two clauses in
meaning. However, they are both independent clauses and need to be connected
with a comma + a little conjunction or they should be separated with a semicolon.

4. The head of state and the religious leader were often the same person all power rested
in one ruler.
a. This sentence is correct
b. person, all
c. person; all

power rested in one ruler.
The semicolon can be used here to connect two nicely balanced and closely related
ideas. The comma by itself creates a COMMA SPLICE.

5. These powerful leaders decide what objects would serve as money their backing
encouraged public faith in money.
a. This sentence is correct
b. money. Their
c. money, their

Answer: These powerful leaders decided what objects would serve as money. Their
backing encouraged public faith in the money.
Although it would be possible to connect these two clauses with a semicolon,
probably the best bet is to separate them and treat them as separate sentences. The
comma by itself would create another comma splice; a comma + a little conjunction
would probably not be an adequate solution to this run-on.
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6. Coins were minted of precious metals the religious overtones of money were then
strengthened.
a. This sentence is correct
b. metals, the
c. When the coins were minted of precious metals, the

Answer: When coins were minted of precious metals, the religious overtones of the
money were then strengthened.
The comma by itself creates a COMMA SPLICE. Instead of combining these independent
clauses with a comma and a little conjunction, we have subordinated the first clause to
the second with the subordinating word when.

7. People already believed the precious metals to be divine so their use in money
intensified its allure.
a. This sentence is correct
b. divine, so
c. divine; so
d. divine their

Answer: People already believed the precious metals to be divine, so their use in
money intensified its allure.
Although we have connected these two independent clauses with a little conjunction
(so), we also need a comma to separate these clauses. We never use a semicolon and a
little conjunction to connect independent clauses.

Resources:
http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/quizzes/runons_quiz.htm
http://faculty.mdc.edu/.../runons%20and%20comma%20splices/runonsCommaSplic.doc