From Writing to Publishing

Grammar – Run-On Sentences

RUN-ON SENTENCES! You know the ones! Let’s talk.

When you were in school, you learned all this. Funny how we forget or never quite master these techniques. It’s okay. I’m right with you on this. We can work together to conquer the dreaded run-ons.

What is a run-on sentence?

Just as the name suggests, run-ons are sentences that have no punctuation. It would be like listening to someone thinking out loud and never taking a breath. Exhausting. And confusing. Here are a few examples:

1:  Samantha jumped on the couch she fell and hit her head.
2:  We went to the store it was closed.
3:  Trever picked up the bag it ripped groceries fell everywhere.

You can feel something wrong with those sentences, but if you’re not clear what it could be, let’s dive into the lesson. A run-on sentence is two sentences combined without proper punctuation. A period, a semicolon, or a connecting word must be added. Sounds complicated, right? It’s not, I assure you. Watch this:

1:  Samantha jumped on the couch. She fell and hit her head.
(You just made two sentences instead of one using a period. Super easy. Doesn’t it make it easier to read?)
2:  We went to the store, but it was closed.
(This is an example of a connecting word. Connecting words can be and, or, but, or then. You usually, but not always, add a comma before these words to connect the sentences.)
3:  Trever picked up the bag; it ripped and groceries fell everywhere.
(Here we used a semicolon and a connecting word such as and.)

Practice on a few sentences of your own. Pick up your old writing and analyze it a little. See if you can find places to put a period, a semicolon, or a connecting word to fix any long, endless sentences.

Want a few other options to spice up your writing? Here are three more ways to fix run-on sentences:

Comma and conjunction (connecting word):
The debate is over, and now it is time to vote.

Dash:
The debate is over – now it is time to vote.

Subordinating conjunction:
Since the debate is over, it is time to vote.

This has been,

Fanny T. Crispin

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