What are Run-Ons? Two complete thoughts (independent clauses) are run together with no adequate sign given to mark the break between them.
Types of Run-Ons Run-ons that have no punctuation to mark the break between thoughts are fused sentences: they are joined together as if only one thought. Ex. My grades are good my social life gets a C.
Types of Run-Ons Run-ons that use a comma to connect two complete thoughts are a comma splice. Ex. My grades are good, my social life gets a C. A comma alone is not strong enough to connect two complete thoughts (independent clauses). A stronger, clearer mark is needed between two thoughts.
Comma Splices Comma splices can also occur when two or more independent clauses are separated by a comma and a coordinating adverb, instead of by a coordinating conjunction. Ex. Jim studied for the test, therefore he passed. Conjunctions: and, but, or, nor, for, so, & yet.
Words that Lead to Run-ons People often write run-ons when the second thought begins with one of these words… I, you, he, she, it, we, they, there, this, that, now, then, next. Be on the alert for run-ons when you use these words!
Correcting Run-ons Method 1. Period and a capital letter. For fused sentences, locate where the major break is between thoughts. Place a period in-between thoughts. Make the first letter of the first word in the second thought a capital letter. Ex. My grades are good. My social life gets a C.
Method 2. Comma and a joining word. Use a comma and a joining word (conjunction). And- In addition to, along with. But- Yet, however, on the other hand, just the opposite, except. For- Because*, the reason why, the cause of something. So- As a result, therefore. Ex. My grades are good, but my social life gets a C.
Method 3. Semicolon ( ; ) Use a semicolon to mark the break between thoughts. A semicolon is known as a strong comma. The semicolon may be used alone. Ex. It rained all week; the highway was flooded.
Use a semicolon with a transitional word & a comma to join two complete thoughts.
Ex. We were out of money; therefore, we decided not to eat out that weekend.
See p. 438 for a list of transitional words and their meanings.
Method 4. Subordination. Use dependent words to show that one thought is not as important as another. Ex. Because it rained all week, the highway was flooded. Some common subordinate words: After, although, as, because, before, since, if, even though, unless, until, when, while.
Read the sentence aloud & listen for a break to indicate two complete thoughts. Your voice will probably drop and pause at a break. Read the paper aloud from last sentence to first. This will help you hear and see each complete thought.