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Run-on sentences

Run-on sentences

Author: Kathryn Reilly

    Introduce run-on sentences and comma splices. 


    Explain ways to correct run-on sentences and comma splices. 


This packet should help a learner seeking to understand English writing style and who has made mistakes with run-on sentences. It will explain how to avoid run-on sentences and correct comma splices.

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Run-on and Comma Splice Sentences Defined

A run-on sentence is exactly what it sounds like:  a sentence that keeps going when it should have stopped.  A complete sentence in English has two basic parts: a subject and verb. 


Simple sentence:

He laughed.  (He = subject, laughed=verb).


More complex sentence:

He laughed loudly at the monkey in the zoo.

We tend to like more complex sentences because they offer more details and provided a clearer image to the reader; simple sentences often leave the reader with too many unanswered questions.  However, the more complex sentences we write, the trickier it can be to use punctuation.


Run-on sentence:

He laughed loudly at the monkey in the zoo he wished he could keep the monkey as a pet.


This sentence is a run-on because it continues when it should stop.  The sentence "He wished he could keep the monkey as a pet." is a complete thought and needs to be puncuated to reflect that.  A run-on sentence possesses two subjects (who or what is doing the action), two verbs (the action) and usually two objects (who or what is receiving the action).


Comma Splice:

A comma splice occurs when a writer inserts a comma in a run-on sentence.  A comma cannot connect two independent clauses (or complete sentences).  A comma may connect a dependent clause (phrase) to an independent clause or separate items in a list.

Comma Splice sentence:

He laughed loudly at the monkey in the zoo, he wished he could keep the monkey as a pet.


Source: Kathryn Reilly

How to Correct Run-on Sentences

This video presented by shows the different ways to correct a run-on sentence.


Quick Guide to Fixing Run-ons and Comma Splices

This PDF reviews the three solutions to run-ons and comma splices. It also presents examples and explanations.


Source: Kathryn Reilly

More Practice, Please!

The following website offers ten sentences to practice!  Good Luck!