Writing Commons: "Avoid Run-on Sentences"
What is a run-on sentence?
A run-on (or fused) sentence consists of two or more independent clauses that have been joined without appropriate punctuation or coordinating words. Dividing a run-on sentence into concise, meaningful units can help to clarify your message.
How might this run-on sentence be divided?
- Locate the fused independent clauses; it may help to underline the subject-verb pairs.
- Draw a vertical line (or lines) on your paper to separate the independent clauses.
- Use an end mark and proper capitalization to separate the independent clauses into two (or more) complete sentences.
- Use a comma followed by a coordinating conjunction (fanboys: for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so) to separate related independent clauses.
- Use a semicolon (;), colon (:), or dash (–) to separate related independent clauses.
- Change one independent clause into a dependent clause and join the two clauses, using appropriate punctuation.
- Rewrite two fused independent clauses as one cohesive independent clause.
Let’s look at an example:
Incorrect: One way to confront a problem is to seek advice it can come from someone with more life experience.
Correction A: One way to confront a problem is to seek advice; it can come from someone with more life experience.
Correction B: One way to confront a problem is to seek advice. Frequently, guidance can come from someone with more life experience.
Last modified: Friday, October 9, 2015, 9:16 AM