A run-on sentence is two or more independent clauses incorrectly presented in a single sentence. They are considered bad because they can be distracting to readers and prevent the writer from clearly communicating information.
So what is an “independent clause”?
In grammar, a clause is a group of words that includes a subject and a verb, and forms a sentence or part of a sentence.
A sentence consists of one or more clauses.
This sentence has one clause:
- Please contact us.
And this sentence has two clauses:
- If you need help, please contact us.
In the above sentence, ‘please contact us’ is an independent clause (because it can exist independently as a complete sentence, but ‘if you need help” is a dependent clause because it is not complete by itself and needs to be attached to another clause to form a sentence.
Now that you understand what dependent and independent clauses are, we can get back to run-on sentences.
Let’s read the definition of run-on sentences one more time:
A run-on sentence is two or more independent clauses incorrectly presented in a single sentence.
Here is an example:
- She loves dancing she goes to the dance club every weekend. (Not correct!)
This is probably the most common type of run-on sentences. It is called a “fused sentence”, when two or more independent clauses are included in a single sentence with no punctuation between them.
Here is another example:
- The boy ran across the road, it was really dangerous. (Not correct!)
This is a “comma splice”, when two or more independent clauses are included in a single sentence separated only by commas.
Fortunately, there are easy ways to get rid of run-on sentences.
Look at these run-on sentences:
- She is charming everybody likes her. (Not correct!)
- She is charming, everybody likes her. (Not correct!)
The first way to correct them is to simply separate your two independent clauses with a full-stop (period in American English). Make each one of them a separate sentence:
- She is charming. Everybody likes her.
The second way is to use a semicolon, which we only use this method when the two clauses are closely related.
- She is charming; everybody likes her.
The third way is to use a comma and a connecting conjunction (and, but, so, or, nor, for):
- She is charming, and everybody likes her.
And finally, a more sophisticated way to fix a run-on is to turn one of the independent clauses into a dependent clause:
- Because she is charming, everybody likes her.
- She is charming, which is why everybody likes her.
You see? Correcting run-on sentence is a piece of cake, a walk in the park, child’s play, a breeze!
(Don’t forget to do the activities in the Gym to further consolidate what you have learnt!)
THIS IS THE GYM. LET’S BUILD SOME LANGUAGE MUSCLE!