How to Fix Run-On Sentences
Learning how to fix run-on sentences can be challenging for writers of all levels. From beginning writers who don’t have the conceptual grasp of a complete thought to more experience writers who get caught up in the mire of dependent clauses and phrases, here are a few workable strategies to revise these errors in sentence structure.
Definition: A sentence run-on consists of two or more independent clauses connected together as if they were one sentence without the benefit of a conjunction or proper punctuation. An independent clause means that there is a subject and a connecting verb that express a complete thought. But first, let’s begin with what constitutes a complete sentence.
A Complete Sentence
- tells a complete thought.
- has both a subject and a predicate.
- has the voice drop down at the end of a statement and the voice go up at the end of a question (in English).
Run-On Examples and Their Fixes
1. Separate the run-on into two or more sentences.
Luis told his brother he told his sister, too.
The Fix-Luis told his brother. He told his sister, too.
2. Add a semi-colon between the clauses.
Mary let him have it, she knew what she was doing.
The Fix-Mary let him have it; she knew what she was doing.
3. Add a comma, then a conjunction after the first independent clause.
I like her, she doesn’t like me.
The Fix-I like her, but she doesn’t like me.
4. Add a subordinating conjunction to one of the clauses.
Max was injured, he was still the best.
The Fix-Even though Max was injured, he was still the best.
5. Change the second clause to a phrase starting with an __ing word.
They went to school, they looked for him.
The Fix-They went to school, looking for him.
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