Grammar Tips: Run-on Sentences & Comma Splices

28 Jan

Run-on sentences, also known as fused sentences, are a very common grammatical error. This error occurs when the sentence has at least two parts that could stand on their own (or, two independent clauses), but the two parts are not properly connected. As this is a structural issue, run-on sentences can be long sentences, or short sentences. For example:

I like cats they are soft. 

The above example is a run-on sentence. Both pieces of the sentence could stand on their own as grammatically correct sentences. We could easily revise this fused/run-on sentence by separating the two independent clauses so that the sentence would read: 

I like cats. They are soft. 

This is not the only way that a fused/run-on sentence can occur. Fused/run-on sentences can occur when two independent clauses are connected with a comma. When two independent clauses are connected by only a comma, this forms a comma splice. In order to avoid a comma splice when joining two independent clauses, a conjunction (and, but, for, nor, etc.) is needed. 

I like cats, and they are soft. 

There are a few other situations that can result in a fused/run-on sentence. For example: 

  1. When using an independent clause to give an order or direction based on another independent clause. 
    1. Run-on: The bathroom is filthy, you should clean it right away.
    2. Correct: The bathroom is filthy, so you should clean it right away. 
  2. When two independent clauses are connected by a conjunctive adjective (however, moreover, etc.)
    1. Run-on: Sam always wanted to travel abroad, however, he struggled to save money for the trip. 
    2. Correct: Sam always wanted to travel abroad; however, he struggled to save money for the trip. 
  3. When using two independent clauses where the second of the two independent clauses contains a pronoun that connects it to the first independent clause. 
    1. Run-on: This book does not make sense to me, it is partially written in Spanish. 
    2. Correct: This book does not make sense to me. It is partially written in Spanish. 
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5 Responses to “Grammar Tips: Run-on Sentences & Comma Splices”

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