When two whole sentences are fused together without the use of a coordinating conjunction, run-on sentences, also known as fused sentences, occur.
They’re sentences that include too many ideas and don’t use correct punctuation like a period or a semicolon to separate them. Short or lengthy sentences can be run-ons, although not all long phrases are run-ons. Combining numerous related ideas in a single compound sentence is perfectly acceptable. However, if you don’t follow punctuation and sentence structure rules, a sentence can become a run-on. This point should be clarified with a brief description of the components of simple sentences, independent and dependent clauses, run-ons, and some examples of run-on sentences.
Components of a Sentence
A sentence must have three elements:
- Subject: “What is this sentence about?” A sentence’s subject refers to “who” or “what” the statement is about. The simple subject is the word(s) that names the sentence’s topic. It is frequently, but not always, a noun or a pronoun.
- Action: “What is the sentence’s subject doing?” The verb is always used to describe the action. It conveys information about the subject.
- Complete thought: “What does this statement mean?”
Examples of Simple Sentences
Consider how a simple statement, such as “Josh is standing,” combines subject, action, and complete thought. This is how it goes in this sentence:
- There is a subject: Josh
- “Is,” which is a form of the verb “to be,” is an action. Jim is doing the action of “standing” in this situation.
- There is a complete thought: The reader is informed that Josh is standing in this sentence.
Independent clauses are sentences that have these three components. Independent clauses can stand alone and compose complete sentences. A dependent clause is a sentence that is missing one of the three components. Dependent clauses can’t stand alone; they need to be combined with another clause.
Independent and Dependent Clauses
The building components of sentences are independent and dependent clauses. A single independent clause can stand alone as a sentence. Dependent clauses, on the other hand, are used to make sentences more complete and interesting. Dependent and independent clauses can be put together using conjunctions and proper punctuation to produce interesting and complex compound sentences that are entertaining and engaging to read.
What Are Independent Clauses?
A clause that may stand on its own is known as an independent clause. It does not need to be attached to any other clauses because it contains all of the required information to make a full sentence.
Independent clauses are made up of three parts:
- They have a subject, which informs the reader about the subject of the phrase.
- They contain an action or predicate, which informs the reader of the subject’s actions.
- They convey a complete thought – something has happened or has been spoken.
A subject and a verb are all that’s needed for an independent clause:
- Kevin reads.
Kevin is the main character. The action or verb is “reads”. The reader now knows that Kevin enjoys reading because a complete thought was expressed – something was spoken.
If the independent clauses are related, they can also be joined to other independent clauses. They must, however, be connected with suitable punctuation.
- Kevin read a book; he really enjoyed the book.
The first clause is an independent clause. The subject is Kevin, the action is reading, and the object is the book.
The second clause is an independent clause. ” He is the subject, enjoyed is the action and the book is the object.
Because the separate clauses are linked, they can be combined to form a longer sentence. A semicolon is used to link them correctly.
- Kevin read a book, he really enjoyed the book.
We have two independent clauses once again, however the separate clauses are not properly connected. A comma splice is a grammatical error that occurs when two independent clauses are linked only by a comma. The comma splice will be discussed in more detail later in this article.
Independent clauses can be complicated, but the crucial thing to remember is that they are self-contained and make sense on their own.
What Is a Dependent Clause?
A dependent clause is one that does not fully communicate a thought.
A clause can be dependent because of the presence of a:
- Word with a Marker (while, after, because, even if, although, whether, whenever, before, since, in order to, though, wherever, even though)
- Conjunction (And, or, nor, yet, but)
Dependent clauses MUST be joined to another clause, in order to avoid creating a sentence fragment.
- Because I missed the bus.
This is a sentence fragment. We have a “because” but not a “why” or anything accompanying and following what happened “because” they forgot.
- Because I missed the bus, I got to school late.
Here, the error is corrected. “I got to school late” is an independent clause. “I” is the subject, “got” is the verb, “school” is the object. A complete thought is expressed.
When we add subjects, objects, and modifying phrases to dependent clauses, they get more complicated:
- Kevin, who likes video games, bought a console.
Kevin is the subject. “Who likes video games” is a dependent clause that modifies Kevin. It contains “likes” which is a verb. Bought is a verb. A console is the object.
A dependent clause, like independent clauses, can be complex. The crucial thing to remember is that the dependent clause is not a complete thought on its own.
Compound sentences are made up of independent and dependent clauses that are combined together. A run-on sentence is made up of two or more clauses that have been linked incorrectly. Compound sentences have the basic rules to avoid run-on sentences:
- Two related independent clauses can be joined using a semicolon. “The room is hot; he wants to go outside.” Both “The room is hot” and “he wants to go outside” could be standalone sentences. To convey further information, however, they’ve been joined with a semicolon. This a correct compound sentence.
- An independent clause can be made dependent on another clause by using a coordinating conjunction. For example: “The room is hot, but he wants to stay inside.” The second clause, “He wants to stay inside,” could be an independent clause. However, the coordinating conjunction “but” makes it dependent on the first clause.
Summary: What Are Run-on Sentences?
A run-on sentence is defined as two or more independent clauses that have been improperly joined together.
In summary, a run-on sentence:
- violates grammar
- has two independent clauses that are wrongly combined
- must be corrected
- can be corrected in a variety of ways
Types of Run-on Sentences
There are many distinct types of run-on sentences. Three of the most common types are as follows:
- A comma splice happens when two independent clauses are connected erroneously using a comma rather than a semicolon to form a single sentence.
- A fused sentence occurs when independent clauses run together with no punctuation marks or coordinating conjunctions to split them.
- Polysyndeton is when a sentence contains more conjunctions than it needs.
Examples of each sort of run-on sentence are provided below, along with instructions on how to correct them.
Examples of comma splice:
Sophia likes to cook, she makes soup every day.
This is an example of a classic comma splice. “Sophia enjoys cooking” is a separate phrase that can stand on its own. “She makes soup every day” is also a separate clause that could be used on its own. A semicolon, not a comma, is required to join these two clauses:
Sophia enjoys cooking; she makes soup every day.
How to Fix Comma Splices
A comma splice can be fixed in three ways. To begin, divide the section before the comma and the section following the comma into two complete sentences separated by a period (For a less distinct split, a semi-colon could be used). For example:
I went to the mall. Jane was there.
Second, following the comma, add a coordinating conjunction like “and” to join two independent clauses. Consider the following case from the example above:
I went to the mall, and Jane was there.
Finally, a subordinating conjunction can be used to change one of the independent clauses to a dependent clause. Consider the following example:
- When I went to the mall, Jane was there.
- I went to the mall because Jane was there.
If your dependent clause comes first, you must link the two sentences with a comma. There is no need for a comma if your dependent clause is the second.
Other examples based on the three comma-slicing approaches are shown below:
By Making Two Sentences
|We hate the circus, it’s so scary.||We hate the circus. It’s so scary.|
|He took the girl’s chocolate, that was mean.||He took the girl’s chocolate. That was mean.|
|The tutor was happy, the students were listening attentively.||The tutor was happy. The students were listening attentively.|
|I think he dislikes me, he acts so mean now.||I think he’s dislikes me. He acts so mean now.|
|He was sad the dog died, he doesn’t want a new one.||He was sad the dog died. He doesn’t want a new one.|
|We went to the mall, we bought clothes.||We went the to the mall. We bought clothes.|
|I often walk in the park, I love the feeling of nature.||I often walk in the park. I love the feeling of nature.|
|I can’t wait to go on holiday, it will be fun and exciting.||I can’t wait to go on holiday. It will be fun and exciting.|
By Using Coordinating Conjunctions
|We hate the circus, it’s so scary.||We hate the circus, for it’s so scary.|
|He took the girl’s chocolate, that was mean.||He took the girl’s chocolate and that was mean.|
|The tutor was happy, the students were listening attentively.||The tutor was happy, for the students were listening attentively.|
|I think he dislikes me, he acts so mean now.||I think he dislikes me, for he acts so mean now.|
|He was sad the dog died, he doesn’t want a new one.||He was sad the dog died, but he doesn’t want a new one.|
|We went to the mall, we bought clothes.||We went the to the mall and we bought clothes.|
|I often walk in the park, I love the feeling of nature.||I often walk the in the park, for I love the feeling of nature.|
|I can’t wait to go on holiday, it will be fun and exciting.||I can’t wait to go on holiday, for it will be fun and exciting.|
By Creating a Dependent Clause
|We hate the circus, it’s so scary.||I hate going to the circus because it’s so scary.|
|He took the girl’s chocolate, that was mean.||When he took the boy’s chocolate away, that was mean.|
|The tutor was happy, the students were listening attentively.||The tutor was happy because the students were listening attentively.|
|I think he dislikes me, he acts so mean now.||I think he dislikes me because he acts so mean now.|
|He was sad the dog died, he doesn’t want a new one.||Even though he was sad the dog died, he doesn’t want a new one.|
|We went to the mall, we bought clothes.||We went the to the mall where we bought clothes.|
|I often walk in the park, I love the feeling of nature.||I often walk in the park since I love the feeling of nature.|
|I can’t wait to go on holiday, it will be fun and exciting.||I can’t wait to go on holiday as it will be fun and exciting.|
Examples of Fused Sentences
“Jane likes pets she has a dog.”
This is an example of a fused sentence, which consists of two independent sentences written together with no punctuation or conjunction between them. All that is required to correct this statement is the addition of suitable punctuation. Both of the following alternatives are acceptable rewrites of the same sentence.
- Jane likes pets; she has a dog.
- Jane likes pets. She has a dog.
How to Correct a Fused Sentence
The good news is that you can get rid of fused sentences in your writing in a variety of methods. Let’s take a look at a few of them.
1. Make two different sentences from the independent clauses:
- Lucy owns a catering business in Seattle. She enjoys cooking for events such as weddings, luncheons, parties, and holiday.
The easiest way to fix the writing error is to break the independent clauses into two different sentences. After the first independent clause, just add a period and capitalize the first word of the second independent clause. Use a semicolon to separate the two independent clauses:
- Lucy owns a catering business in Seattle; she enjoys cooking for events such as weddings, luncheons, parties, and holidays.
2. Rewrite the sentence such that just one independent clause remains:
- Lucy enjoys cooking for events such as weddings, luncheons, parties, and holidays with her catering business in Seattle.
We’ve completely eliminated the requirement for punctuation in this example by reorganizing the statement.
3. After the first independent sentence, add a coordinating conjunction and a comma.
The coordinating conjunctions are for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so. Remembering the term fanboys is a simple method to recall the coordinating conjunctions:
For, And, Nor, But, Or, Yet, So
Example of Polysyndeton
“We went to the mall and we ate lunch and we got cupcakes and when it got dark we gazed at the starry sky”
The above is an example of polysyndeton. It is when you use a lot of conjunctions to make a sentence longer. The word “and” is overused in this example. Overuse of conjunctions such as “and” is often a purposeful rhetorical decision. Most of the time, however, it’s a simple mistake with an even easier fix: break the statement up into separate phrases with some punctuation:
“We went to the mall. Then, we ate lunch and got cupcakes. When it got dark, we gazed at the starry sky.”
Informal, literary, and creative writers frequently use it. When this happens, a coordinating conjunction is repeated where it isn’t needed. This type of writing is used to express specific feelings, such as excitement. In professional writing or standard English, however, this is not acceptable.
Polysyndeton also refers to a collection of complete thoughts linked by an excessive number of conjunctions. As a result, the statement becomes extremely long and difficult to follow.
Jessica threw her brother a party and all his friends came and they all brought gifts and they ate chocolate and they played sports and they made a huge mess and no one helped her tidy up and it was a really long day.
Jessica threw her brother a party. All his friends came, and they all brought gifts. Later, they ate chocolate and played sports. They made a huge mess, and no one helped her tidy it up. It was a really long day.
Summary on fixing and correcting run-on sentences
Run-on sentences must be modified since they are grammatically wrong. I’ll go over the many techniques we’ve learnt in this article to fix a run-on sentence in the next paragraphs.
There are three primary techniques:
- Make use of end punctuation:
End punctuation may be used to separate clauses that are incorrectly related in run-on sentences, depending on the type of clauses. In most cases, a period will suffice.
- Run-on: I brushed my teeth I had my bath.
- Correction: I brushed my teeth. I had my bath.
The two clauses now act as two distinct sentences..
- Make use of a comma and conjunction.
The addition of a comma will not repair a run-on sentence. In fact, a comma splice would be the result. However, by using a comma and the suitable conjunction, the clauses can be joined properly.
- Run-on: I brushed my teeth I had my bath.
- Correction: I brushed my teeth and I had my bath.
For every run-on sentence, not every conjunction will work. The writer must use the most appropriate conjunction to convey his message.
- Make use of a semi-colon:
In a run-on sentence, a semicolon might be used to connect the two clauses.
- Run-on: I brushed my teeth I had my bath.
- Correction: I brushed my teeth; I had my bath.
Semicolons should never be used in place of periods. Semi-colons should only be used when the weight, length, and relevance of the two sentences are equal.
An example of how to correct run-on sentences using the three primary methods
Below is an example of two independent clauses that are structured as a run-on sentence. It fuses two complete thoughts into one sentence without proper punctuation.
- Maria enjoyed the movie she saw with Joe on prom night however she would have preferred a visit to an art gallery.
Here’s an example of how to properly express these two independent clauses. Each thought is separated by a semicolon, which is inserted between the two sentences. However, after the conjunctive adverb, there is a comma as a transition into the second clause.
- Maria enjoyed the movie she saw with Joe on prom night; however, she would have preferred a visit to an art gallery.
To avoid run-on sentences, see if there is more than one idea communicated by two or more independent clauses. In our examples, there are two complete sentences:
- Maria enjoyed the movie she saw with Joe on prom night .
- She would have preferred a visit to an art gallery.
Both sentences are complete ideas by themselves; therefore, use a semicolon or a period to indicate that they are separate independent clauses.