Run-on Sentences (See Rules for Writers )

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1 Run-on Sentences (See Rules for Writers ) A run-on sentence is not just any long sentence. A run-on occurs when two complete sentences (independent clauses) are stuck together without the appropriate connecting words and punctuation. Run-ons are also known as fused sentences (when there is no punctuation between the clauses) and comma splices (when the two clauses are joined by a comma). This is a fused sentence: I worked when I wanted on average I worked 60 hours a week. This is a comma splice: In 1885 immigration from Japan to America was legalized, by 1900 some 10,000 Japanese had arrived in California. Detecting Run-Ons As you edit, think carefully about how you are connecting ideas. Try reading out loud. You may hear the extra pause at the splice point. Watch out for the most common situations in which people create run-ons. Try to notice any patterns in your own errors. Common Situations that Breed Run-Ons: The two clauses express contrast. Time magazine presents the facts as they are, National Inquirer often distorts them. The second clause illustrates or amplifies the first. Running backs are unique football players, they withstand the physical punishment that the linemen give out and yet keep going. The two clauses have the same subject. My mother wasn't mean she just wanted the best for us. The second clause comments on something in the first clause. My mother is very simple-minded, by this I do not mean less intelligent.

2 The second clause begins with words like however, therefore, moreover, thus, or then. Money can be beneficial if used properly, however, if not properly used, it can corrupt people. Practice Identifying Run-ons Determine which of the following sentences are run-ons. Try to describe the relationship between the two clauses in a run-on. 1. My experience of living at home was good, I suggest it to anyone. 2. I never really wanted to date anyone to be going steady I just wanted to talk to as many girls as possible. 3. Making a cake is a very long and drawn-out process. 4. I didn't have to look out for any younger brothers and sisters, I could just watch out for myself. 5. Their lifestyle was way too strict, I couldn't even go out at night without getting the third degree about where I had been. 6. Being the family baby means that the youngest has all his brothers and sisters looking out for him. 7. This way I will have the best of both worlds, I will be doing something that I love and living where I have always wanted. 8. She went back to college and got a job this showed us that she wanted a better life for us. 9. Once we entered Iowa, we saw some of the most beautiful farm land in the world. 10. One time my lawn mower was stolen, I have no idea who could have got it.

3 Correcting Run-ons Separate the clauses. This is best if there is no special connection between the two that needs to be indicated. These run-ons are good candidates for separation. I had a small two-bedroom apartment downtown, it was great. Subwoofers come in many different sizes, choosing one depends on how much bass is preferred. Use a comma followed by a coordinating conjunction: and, but, or, nor, for, so, or yet. These words help convey the relationship between the two sentences. Here are some good candidates for coordination: It would take years to go over why she is such a wonderful person, I only had an hour. I am supposed to get the proper amount of servings from each food group every day, it's hard to stick with it. NOTE: The comma comes before the conjunction, not after. Incorrect: It would take years to go over why she is such a wonderful person but, I only had an hour. NOTE: These are the only coordinating conjunctions. Other words, even ones that indicate similar types of relationships, cannot do the job of connecting the clauses grammatically. Incorrect: It would take years to go over why she is such a wonderful person, however I only had an hour. Join the clauses with a semi-colon or colon. The semi-colon connects two very closely related clauses that join to express one complicated thought. Run-ons expressing contrast, parallelism, or further explanation are good candidates for a semi-colon. I never used a seatbelt before, now I do. My mother really needed a new car, her old one was on its last wheels.

4 The colon connects one clause to a clause or phrase that illustrates or amplifies something in it. Run-ons containing examples or amplification are good candidates for a colon. That one experience gave me something else, it gave me courage. For the most part everyone is nice and helpful, when someone needs help or is in trouble, there is always help. Practice Correcting Run-ons The following sentences are all run-ons. Determine the best way to correct them. 1. Our state is called "The Land of Lincoln", that is because Abraham Lincoln lived there. 2. The population is very small, I think it is like 6000 people. 3. That's not just this once, that was every time. 4. Both places have their advantages and disadvantages, however some of them outweigh others. 5. I had gone back home to get ready, after I was ready I went back to my sister's house. 6. I thought I was off the hook. I was wrong, he called my mom and told her what I did. 7. I myself have never experienced the pain from a divorce, my parents are still married. 8. Support is not the only foundation in a family, there is also love. 9. I had a Spanish teacher that was like a drill sergeant, her name was Rose Ledford. 10. There are many types of teachers, there are good ones and bad ones. 11. The decision was already made, we packed up all of our things and sold the house and moved.

5 Practice Identifying and Correcting Run-Ons Determine which of these sentences are run-ons. For each run-on, discuss the best way to correct it. 1. The baby was good news there is just a lot more to think about as a mother compared to not being one. 2. Florida is not the paradise everyone believes it to be, but more of just a tourist trap. 3. People usually have their own personal way of dealing with this situation, mine is fishing. 4. He and I are not just father and son, we have become the best of friends. 5. Sometimes a person feels the need to escape from the pressures of work. 6. Joe took a girl out expecting nothing to happen, however by the next morning he was in love. 7. Country music is more than falling in or out of love, it s also about having one hell of a time. Garth Brooks, my personal favorite, is better at expressing this emotion than any other country singer. He not only sings about having fun, he does it in a way that protects the little guy. 8. I was never a milk drinker before, but now that has changed, I drink two glasses of milk per day. 9. As long as computers are around, people will always need someone around to take care of the problems they encounter, thus I will always have a job. 10. I am in the minority, I like listening to rock and roll and alternative music.

6 11. I learned about the "tough image" type of teacher as an eleventh grader. My English teacher was a former U.S. Army officer. She was a tall, stocky woman in her mid-sixties, with snow-white hair and a voice tone that made my skin crawl. I remember the first day of her class, I walked in with my head down and a stomach full of butterflies. She stood in front of the class and spoke about her rules for the classroom. I walked out of that room scared to breathe the wrong way. As the year proceeded, it seemed as if she calmed down day by day. Before the first semester was complete, she was my favorite teacher. I found the nerve one day to ask her why she had come on so strong at first. Her answer made more sense to me than anything I had ever heard. She told me "honey, I'm here to teach you children, and if I don't put up a firm front, no one will listen to me." It was then that I realized she really wanted to teach, she cared about us and our future. That is the kind of teacher that I have had the most of in college.

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