What is a run-on? A run-on is two complete sentences (also called independent clauses) joined without any punctuation.Example:Bernard loved his part-time job at the local newspaper there was one problem.
What is a comma splice? A comma splice is two complete sentences (or independent clauses) joined by only a comma.Example:Nearly all the people who worked there had the same habit, it was a habit that had always annoyed Bernard.
How can you identify run-ons and comma splices? Find each of the independent clauses in a sentence. Check to see how they are joined. Is there any punctuation between them? If not, you may be looking at a run-on. If there is a comma between independent clauses, look for a coordinating conjunction (like and, but, for, so, or, yet). If there is none, you may be looking at a comma splice.
How can you correct run-ons and comma splices?There are four ways to correct a run-on or a comma splice:- Add a period.- Add a semicolon.- Add a comma and a coordinating conjunction.- Add a dependent word.
Add a period.You can split run-ons and comma splices into two separate sentences by adding a period between them.After adding the period, capitalize the letter that begins the new sentence.Reread your new sentences to make sure they each contain a subject, a verb, and a complete thought.
ExampleRun-on: Each person had a chair next to his or her desk for visitors their visitors were not able to sit in many of those chairs.Corrected: Each person had a chair next to his or her desk for visitors. Their visitors were not able to sit in many of those chairs.
Add a semicolon.A second way to correct run-ons and comma splices is to use a semicolon [;] to join the two sentences.Use a semicolon only when the two sentences express closely related ideas.A semicolon can be used only where a period could also be used; the words on each side of the semicolon must be able to stand alone as a complete sentence.Do not capitalize the word that follows a semicolon unless it is the name of a specific person, place, or thing that is usually capitalized.
ExampleRun-on: Bernard wanted to break this habit after all, why couldn’t a chair be used as a chair?Corrected: Bernard wanted to break this habit; after all, why couldn’t a chair be used as a chair?
Add a comma and a coordinating conjunction.A third way to correct run-ons is to add a comma and a coordinating conjunction: and, but, or, nor, so, for, or yet. Think of a coordinating conjunction as a link that joins independent clauses to form one sentence.A comma splice already has a comma, so you need to add only a conjunction.Before choosing a conjunction, read the independent clauses aloud to see which word best expresses the relationship between them.
ExampleComma splice: Eventually, he got to everyone in the office, one by one, the chairs were cleared of clutter.Corrected: Eventually, he got to everyone in the office, and one by one, the chairs were cleared of clutter.
Add a dependent word.A fourth way to correct run-ons and comma splices is to make one of the complete sentences a dependent clause by adding a dependent word, such as after, because, before, if, though, even though, unless, or when.Choose the dependent word (or subordinating conjunction) that best expresses the relationship between the two clauses.
ExampleRun-on: Sophia thought they got the watchdog their house was robbed recently.Corrected: Sophia thought they got the watchdog because their house was robbed recently.