Run-On Sentences, Comma Splices


A RUN-ON SENTENCE (sometimes called a "fused sentence") has at least two parts, either one of which can stand by itself (in other words, two independent clauses), but the two parts have been "smooshed" together instead of being properly connected. It is important to realize that the length of a sentence really has nothing to do with whether a sentence is a run-on or not; being a run-on is a structural flaw that can plague even a very short sentence:


The sun is high, put on some sun-block.


An extremely long sentence, on the other hand, might be a "run-off-at-the-mouth" sentence, but it can be otherwise sound, structurally.


When two independent clauses are connected by only a comma, they constitute a run-on sentence that is called a comma-splice. The example just above (about the sunscreen) is a comma-splice. When you use a comma to connect two independent clauses, it must be accompanied by a little conjunction (and, but, for, nor, yet, or, so).


The sun is high, so put on some sunscreen.


Run-on sentences happen typically under the following circumstances:


     When an independent clause gives an order or directive based on what was said in the prior independent clause:


This next chapter has a lot of difficult information in it, you should start studying right away.


(We could put a period where that comma is and start a new sentence. A semicolon might also work there.)


     When two independent clauses are connected by a transitional expression (conjunctive adverb) such as however, moreover, nevertheless.


Mr. Nguyen has sent his four children to ivy-league colleges, however, he has sacrificed his health working day and night in that dusty bakery.


(Again, where that first comma appears, we could have used either a period and started a new sentence or a semicolon.)


     When the second of two independent clauses contains a pronoun that connects it to the first independent clause.


This computer doesn't make sense to me, it came without a manual.


(Although these two clauses are quite brief, and the ideas are closely related, this is a run-on sentence. We need a period where that comma now stands.)


Most of those computers in the Learning Assistance Centre are broken already, this proves my point about American computer manufacturers.


Again, two nicely related clauses, incorrectly connected a run-on. Use a period to cure this sentence.

Repair the following sentences:


1. Entrepreneurship is the study of small businesses, college students are embracing it enthusiastically.






2. My father is chairman of the Committee on Foreign Relations, he also heads the Warrant Commission.






3. All over the country, people sell products over the Internet, these people are making impressive profits.





4. One person had been exporting farm equipment, in fact he exports over 30,000 pieces of machinery a year.






5. After the sixth inning, I went home, my family stayed.






6. Formal courses at the graduate level are now being taken by many elderly citizens, some schools even offer them special programs.






7. While time often erases bad memories, my ex-girlfriend never forgets anything, she even remembers things that happened over five years ago.






8. I believe that the teacher has been grading me unfairly, all she does is look for minor mistakes.







9. Even though the semester is almost over, the teacher does not know my name, she confuses me with other students.







10. The team valiantly ran down the field, still they could not score a touchdown.






11. Kimberly sat on the bleachers and cheered for the team, Tom watched her as he vigorously defended the goal.







12. The cat jumped from step to step, it gracefully landed with each jump.







13. The professor stated that he especially favors personally connected papers, these papers reflect the most emotion.






14. Anthony did not agree with the method he was taught, he found other means to solve the problem.







15. I learned the song on the piano, I chose to never play it.








16. Nicole chose what she thought were the best answers to the questions, her grade did not reflect these choices.






17. The correct format looked odd, Victoria chose not to complete the problem this way.






18. Michael sculpted the statue, he also painted the picture.







19. The Revolutionary War was a triumph, it was also a struggle.







20. Victoria managed the class, Julia coached the team.