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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

  1. tells a complete thought.
  2. has both a subject and a predicate.
  3. 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.

Run-On Example:

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.

Run-On Example:

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.

Run-On Example:

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.

Run-On Example:

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.

Run-On Example:

They went to school, they looked for him.

The Fix-They went to school, looking for him.

The author of this article, Mark Pennington, has written the assessment-based Grammar, Mechanics, Spelling, and Vocabulary (Teaching the Language Strand) Grades 4-8 programs to teach the Common Core Language Standards. Each full-year program provides 56 interactive grammar, usage, and mechanics and include sentence diagrams, error analysis, mentor texts, writing applications, and sentence dictation formative assessments with accompanying worksheets (L.1, 2). Plus, each grade-level program has weekly spelling pattern tests and accompanying spelling sort worksheets (L.2), 56 language application opener worksheets (L.3), and 56 vocabulary worksheets with multiple-meaning words, Greek and Latin word parts, figures of speech, word relationships with context clue practice, connotations, and four square academic language practice (L.4, 5, and 6). Comprehensive biweekly unit tests measure recognition, understanding, and application of all language components.

Grammar, Mechanics, Spelling, and Vocabulary (Teaching the Language Strand) also has the resources to meet the needs of diverse learners. Diagnostic grammar, usage, mechanics, and spelling assessments provide the data to enable teachers to individualize instruction with targeted worksheets. Each remedial worksheet (over 200 per program) includes independent practice and a brief formative assessment. Students CATCH Up on previous unmastered Standards while they KEEP UP with current grade-level Standards. Check out the YouTube introductory video of the Grammar, Mechanics, Spelling, and Vocabulary (Teaching the Language Strand) program.

Pennington Publishing's Grammar, Mechanics, Spelling, and Vocabulary (Teaching the Language Strand)

Grammar, Mechanics, Spelling, and Vocabulary (Teaching the Language Strand)
Grades 4-8 Programs

The author also provides these curricular “slices” of the Grammar, Mechanics, Spelling, and Vocabulary (Teaching the Language Strand) “pie”: the five Common Core Vocabulary Toolkits Grades 4−8; the five Differentiated Spelling Instruction Grades 4−8 programs (digital formats only); and the non-grade-leveled Teaching Grammar and Mechanics with engaging grammar cartoons (available in print and digital formats).

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