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Run-On Sentence


rʌn' ɒn




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Breaking the Chains of Run-On Sentences

Comprehensive Definition, Description, Examples & Rules 

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A run-on sentence is a poor grammar because it consists of two or more independent clauses that are not joined with the appropriate conjunctions or punctuation. A run-on sentence exists when two independent clauses (also called main clauses) are incorrectly joined. A sentence can only have one independent clause if it is correctly combined. Correct conjunctions or punctuation must be added to the sentence to properly combine clauses. 

Importance of understanding and identifying run-on sentences in writing

You can improve your sentence structure and make your writing more readable by understanding and identifying run-on sentences in writing. A run-on sentence is a series of connected clauses which are not all definable as standalone sentences. It is difficult to read run-on sentences because they are often choppy and confusing. If you can divide the passage into two complete thoughts without adding, rearranging, or removing any words, you have a run-on sentence.

Definition of Run-On Sentences

There are several types of run-on sentences, each with its own definition. A simple run-on sentence is two or more complete thoughts not connected by a semicolon or comma. 

For example: “I went running today; I really needed the exercise.” 

A complex run-on sentence includes one or more complex clauses, which are groups of complete thoughts that are connected by conjunctions (such as and, but, so), prepositions (such as in, on), or articles (a, an). 

A mixed run-on sentence  is a combination of simple and difficult sentences.

Example: “I went running today; I really needed the exercise; however, I also had to finish up work for the day.”

Explanation of what constitutes a run-on sentence

In a run-on sentence, independent clauses are combined together. But they won’t fit together in meaning when the reader reads it. They are very hard to read and understand. It may create confusion in the reader’s view. But they are also effective if the author wants to make some interesting pointers for the readers. 

For example: 

Incorrect: Helen cooked dinner; therefore, Ralph will wash the dishes. 

Correct: Helen cooked dinner; therefore, Ralph will wash the dishes.

Characteristics and common features of run-on sentences

  • Mostly Run-on sentences have shared sentences.
  • They consist of more independent clauses that have no cohesion. 
  • Frequently, run-on sentences become challenging to comprehend due to the absence of logical connections between clauses. 
  • Moreover, to identify a subject, verb, or sentence that is long expresses only a sentence with no meaning. 

Types of Run-On Sentences

Fused Sentences

Definition and explanation of fused sentences

A fused sentence is a type of run-on sentence that is caused by a lack of proper punctuation. In a fused sentence, two or more complete thoughts are not appropriately connected by a comma or period. Reading can be very confusing and difficult to understand a fused sentence.

Examples of fused sentences to illustrate their structure and common errors

Instead of this: I went for a walk around the block.

Write this: As a result of a beautiful day, I went for a walk around the block, and then I returned home. The first part of the sentence should be written separately.

Discussion on why fused sentences occur and their impact on sentence clarity.

Fused sentences can occur for a variety of reasons:

One of the reasons fused sentences happen is because the writer needed to use proper punctuation. Without commas or periods to break up the flow of the sentence, it becomes difficult to understand where one sentence ends and the next begins. When dealing with long passages of text, this can be particularly problematic. A mistake like this can result in fused sentences because it completely changes the meaning of a sentence.

Comma Splices

Definition and explanation of comma splice

A comma splice is an error in grammar in which two or more independent clauses are joined by a comma, but the comma isn’t necessary since the clauses are related. This error occurs when a comma is used where it is not needed, usually between an introductory and main clause.

Examples of comma splices to demonstrate their structure and common errors.

  • John bought a car and then he drove it to the store.

Comma splices usage: John bought a car and drove it to the store.

Discussion on why comma splices occur and how they affect sentence cohesion

A comma splice may occur for a variety of reasons. Sometimes it is a result of a misplaced comma. Other times, it is the result of a misunderstanding of comma usage rules. Comma splices can affect sentence cohesion by creating a confusing or jarring flow in the text. Three main reasons to use a comma in a sentence are to separate two independent clauses, to join two noun phrases separated by commas, and to introduce a list.

Lack of Coordinating Conjunction

Explanation of run-on sentences caused by the lack of coordinating conjunctions

In the absence of coordinating conjunctions, a sentence can be run-on. A run-on sentence is a set of connected but uncoordinated words. It is difficult to read this type of sentence, and it can be difficult to understand what the author is trying to convey. Each coordinating conjunction serves a specific purpose in a sentence and is available in several different types.

Whenever two or more items are listed following a coordinating conjunction, they must be in the same order as the word appears. For instance, “John and Mary went out for dinner.” This sentence would consist of “John,” “went out,” then “for dinner,” and finally, “Mary.”

Additionally, there are three types of coordinating conjunctions: “but,” “or,” and “nor.” These conjunctions can also be used with multiple items but must appear after the main verb. It would be necessary to add an additional comma to the sentence after the word “buttered” so that it reads: I ate buttered toast for breakfast.

Examples showcasing sentences that could be corrected with coordinating conjunctions

Here are some examples of run-ons that could be corrected. They are sentences that need to be properly coordinated and often sound sloppy.

  • Bob drove the car all night.
  • After he ate, he felt sick.
  • The dog just laid down on the floor.

Discussion on the importance of coordinating conjunctions in connecting ideas

Connecting ideas in a sentence can be made easier by using coordinating conjunctions. Coordinating conjunctions are words that work together to help connect the ideas in a sentence.

Coordinating conjunctions include: and, but, nor, yet, and so. They can be used to link one idea to another or to clarify the relationship between two concepts.

It takes two ideas – the dog barks and wags its tail – to make sense of this sentence. Using and helps connect these two ideas by saying that both occur simultaneously. Similarly, but can be used to show contrast: The dog barks but does not wag its tail.

Subordinating Conjunctions and Dependent Clauses

Discussion on how dependent clauses can contribute to run-on sentences

In order to clarify a sentence, dependent clauses are often used. When two independent clauses in a sentence aren’t clear without each other, a dependent clause can provide context for the other. As a result, the sentence is more cohesive and understandable.

Examples of run-on sentences caused by the improper use of subordinating conjunctions

Subordinating conjunctions and dependent clauses can be used as follows:

There are two independent clauses in this sentence – 

-John plays baseball every weekend and is not a team member. Using a comma after “every” provides clarity and makes the sentence more coherent, but without it, it would be difficult to understand which part of the sentence refers to which part of the week.

Explanation of how to properly use dependent clauses to avoid run-on sentences

The main sentence order should be placed appropriately regarding dependent clauses. Then it should have a subject and verb. And including punctuation is important to break the sentences and make them more readable. 

When writing an article, it is crucial to remember that dependent clauses should relate to the main sentence. They should encompass something that holds true for the entire main sentence rather than just a specific part of it.

Dependent clauses will be placed in order of nouns or verbs. But they all have a subject in their order. Dependent clauses for nouns (e.g., “the moon orbits around Earth”) always come after the noun they are modifying (in this case, “earth”). Verb dependencies (for example, “I’ll run”) always come before the subject.

Run-On Sentence Examples

Showcase various run-on sentence examples from different contexts (e.g., literature, essays, informal writing) 

When we read a piece of literature, we have certain expectations about how the author will construct their sentences. Occasionally, authors need to catch up on these conventions and write run-on sentences. However, we want them to be coherent and make sense on the surface.

Here are some run-on sentence examples:

There is no break between the words. And it is really hard to understand for readers to understand the logic.

 “John wanted to buy the toy but he didn’t have any money”.

John went to the toy store after withdrawing money from the bank. Again, this sentence is one long string of words.

Commas do not separate the sentences. So it is hard to understand what is being said.

Run-on sentence examples from different works of literature are listed below:

  •  I love to write papers. I would write one every day if I had the time.
  • Participants can leave the study hall at anytime they need to mention their preferences

Analyze the errors and issues present in each example

The sentences which have been mentioned above, have two different sentences combined together in a single one. The clauses are long. And those aren’t connected well. This will leave the readers confused. The writer struggled to keep the punctuation and put breaks in between the sentences.

Impact and Effect of Run-On Sentences

Discuss the negative impact of run-on sentences on readability and clarity

When initially reading a text, numerous readers come across run-on sentences. This occurs when the sentence lacks a distinct start, middle, and finish. Consequently, following the narrative or comprehending the conveyed information becomes challenging without knowing where to begin reading. Furthermore, run-ons can cause ambiguity regarding word placement within clauses. Thus, determining whether a specific clause is responsible for the run-on sentence or if there is simply excessive redundancy in the text becomes difficult.

Highlight how run-on sentences can confuse the reader and disrupt the flow of the text.

The run-on sentence usually starts with only one topic. But eventually switches to another without making any break. The reader will have a confusion about where the sentence is heading.

Here’s an example: John bought a new car.

In the above sentence, it is giving information about cars. But it highlights John here. Who bought the car instead of which type of car he bought. A good writer should’ve mentioned this as “John was excited to buy his new car”. In this way, the reader can understand that this isn’t about the car. This is about how John is excited to get a new car.

Let’s look into the rules to avoid falling into run-on sentences. 

  1. You have to start with a new sentence with a capital letter for better understanding. 
  2. You should use transitional words that connect two sentences. Such as “but”, “And”.
  3. You can also use coordinating words like Moreover, However, like.

Identifying and Correcting Run-On Sentences

Provide strategies and techniques for identifying run-on sentences in writing. 

  1. You should ideally look for long clauses.
  2. The sentences will have no direct beginning or end.
  3. There will be shorter breakup of sentences
  4. Connections won’t be there between two sentences

Explain methods for correcting run-on sentences, such as using punctuation or restructuring the sentence.

  1. You should always use punctuation marks, to make the sentence shorter
  2. Rewording the sentence will be helpful for the user to read and understand the sentence easily. 
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Key Takeaways

  1. You should definitely check for the clauses that are too long. It should combine up to two sentences.

  2. Clauses should have a proper format

  3. Using conjunctions is important

  4. Proofreading the entire content and making it more readable for the user is what matters a lot.


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Frequently Asked Questions

Can run-on sentences be intentional for stylistic purposes?

Yes, they can be intentional for stylistic purposes. A writer can include a run-on sentence to add a particular rhythm to their writing. 

What is the difference between a run-on sentence and a comma splice?

A comma splice is an error that represents the irrelevancy between two sentences. A run-on sentence is a single sentence.  But it needs to be fixed with faulty words.

How do run-on sentences affect the clarity of my writing?

Run-on sentences can make your writing easier to understand. When sentences are shorter, it will be easier for readers to understand the logic. It will cause confusion.

Are run-on sentences acceptable in informal writing?

Yes, run-on sentences can be used in informal writing. But writers should avoid confusing readers.

Are there any grammar rules I should follow to avoid run-on sentences?

Do not use long sentences; use a lot of punctuation marks whenever necessary. 

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