Fragments & Run-ons Mr. O’Connor With special guest speaker Kevin Garnett
Sentence combining --- avoiding run-ons and fragments
Sentences in English are traditionally described as simple, compound, complex , or compound-complex .
A 'run-on' error occurs in a compound or compound-complex sentence that is not properly connected.
A fragment is a word-group that is not a sentence because it does not contain at least one independent clause.
Clearly, in order to understand what the 'Run-on' and 'fragment' errors are, we first need to know what factors make a sentence, whether simple, compound, complex, or compound-complex, really a sentence.
A simple sentence has one independent clause that contains one subject and at least one verb. (Note that a clause is a group of related words containing a subject and a verb. It differs from a phrase in that a phrase does not include a subject and verb relationship.)
A compound sentence has two or more independent clauses joined by a coordinating conjunction (for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so).
A complex sentence has one independent clause and one or more dependent clauses.
A complex-compound sentence has at least two independent clauses and at least one dependent clause.
Example: Because I did not answer all the questions, I failed the final exam.
In this second example here, 'because' is called a dependent word. The first part of this sentence is not complete in its meaning and is called a fragment. For instance, if you were to present it as a sentence,
Because I did not answer all the questions
it would be an incomplete thought, and will be called a fragment, because you need the second part (", I failed the final exam") to complete the thought.
In Run-on sentences, the ideas run together, without any correct punctuation marks connecting them.
Example of a 'Run-on' sentence:
Mary wanted to go shopping Ron wanted to watch the game.
The correct form of this sentence is:
Mary wanted to go shopping, but Ron wanted to watch the game.
Try this quiz on identifying run-ons: Which of these sentences have 'Run-on' errors?
1. Tom and Gloria went to the movie, but the tickets were sold out.
2. The alarm sounded Gloria woke up.
3. The game stopped, for the rain came.
4. The meeting was over; therefore, we went home.
Run-ons reveal fused sentences. The following methods are commonly used to correct them.
Method 1: Period and a Capital Letter
Break the two complete thoughts into two separate sentences by putting a period at the end of the first thought, to form a complete sentence, and then a capital letter to begin the second thought as a separate sentence.
Method 2: Comma and a Joining Word
Use a comma and a joining word to connect the two complete thoughts.
Common joining words: for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so
Method 3: Semicolon
Use a semicolon to mark the break between two thoughts.
Example: The restaurant was beautiful the food was overpriced.
Method 4: Subordination
This method of joining related thoughts uses subordination, by showing that one thought in a sentence is not as important as the other thought.
Example: Although my grades are very good this year. My social life rates only a C.
The first word-group is clearly a fragment, and not a complete sentence. Following is one way to construct a single sentence by combining the two:
Although my grades are very good this year, my social life rates only a C.