Run on Sentences

What Is a Run on Sentences?
You may be thinking that a run-on sentence is just a sentence that keeps going on and on and is simply a really long sentence. Well, that's incorrect. Don't worry if you are one of the people who have always felt that way; many people do.

A run on sentence simply lacks punctuation. They are usually compound sentences that need some sort of punctuation. Run-on sentences can be long, but they can also be short.

Here's an example of a short run-on sentence: I went to the store I bought some milk. The reason this sentence is a run-on is because there are two complete sentence that have been fused (joined) together without punctuation.

Remember a run on sentence has two subjects, two verbs and express two complete thoughts. To help you understand this, I have color-coded the sentence below: red=subject, blue=verb, pink=complete thought.

I went to the store I bought some milk.

Review subjects and verbs here.

How Can You Fix a Run-on Sentence?

Although fixing a run on sentence is fairly easy to do, the way you fix one depends on how the different parts of the sentence are related to each other. It is also important to think about what type of tone and style you are writing in.

For example, if you want the sentences to be separate and create a more dramatic effect, you can use a period between the two ideas: I went to the store. I bought some milk.

If you want to show that there is some connection between the two related ideas, then you can use a semi-colon. I went to the store; I bought some milk.

If you want to show that the ideas are related but also want to comment/remark, then you can use a coordinating conjunction with a comma. I went to the store, and I bought some milk.

As you can see there are many ways to fix a run on sentence. You could even make the sentences independent and dependent clauses. For example, you could write Since I went to the store, I bought some milk, or you could write, I went to the store, so i bought some milk.

Which Way Is Correct?

Now you may be wondering, which way is correct? All of the methods mentioned above are correct. There are many ways to fix a run on sentence.

Which way should you fix yours then? Well, that all depends. You have to stop and think about what the tone of your writing is, and who is your audience. The way you correct the sentence all depends on the tone. For example, if you write: I went to the store. I bought some milk. That has a much stronger tone than writing: Since I went to the store, I bought some milk. In the first case, with the period, the readers may be expecting to hear some type of conflict. In the second case, the dependent clause, readers may not expect any conflict at all.

Everyone has their own individual writing style. Do not over think your sentences. Your writing should always reflect your individual style, while also not letting down your readers. Chances are if you do not over think it, you will most likely choose the correct fix that you intend to.

For more help on run on sentences, review these English grammar lessons. Many different topics are discussed in detail including: how to write a sentence, independent and dependent clauses, sentence fragments, comma rules, punctuation exercises, and so much more.

If you have a few sentences you are unsure about, contact me and let me know. I am always happy to help you reach a conclusion.

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