Run on sentences can be detrimental to your writing, making your work appear unprofessional and difficult to read. In this article, we will discuss what a run on sentence is, the negative impact it can have on your writing, and explore four techniques for fixing them.
Let’s dive in.
What is a Run On Sentence?
A run on sentence is a string of two or more dependent or independent clauses that are joined improperly. It’s like a never-ending sentence, where the writer keeps adding phrases or clauses without proper punctuation. Run on sentences can cause confusion, make it difficult for readers to follow the author’s train of thought, and damage the clarity of the message being conveyed.
To identify a run on sentence, one should go through the following checklist:
– Does the sentence contain two or more clauses?
– Are the clauses directly connected without punctuation?
– Does the sentence read like it is excessively long?
If the answer to any of these questions is yes, there is a high probability that the sentence is a run on.
Impact of Run On Sentences
When a sentence runs on and on, the reader can become confused and lost in the text, and comprehension of the message can quickly deteriorate. It can be frustrating for the reader to try and parse apart a sentence that has no clear end. Moreover, run on sentences can be a turn-off for potential readers or clients, as it gives a negative impression of a writer’s abilities.
How to Fix a Run On Sentence
1. Use a period
Using a period to correct a run on sentence is the easiest way to solve the problem of sentence structure. This method is a simple way to break long sentences into shorter ones. Each sentence should hold a separate thought, and the periods will indicate where one thought ends and another begins, making it easier for the reader to follow. For example:
Original: My family and I are planning a vacation this summer, we can’t yet decide where to go.
Correction: My family and I are planning a vacation this summer. We can’t yet decide where to go.
Here’s another example:
Original: I wanted to go to the movie, however, my car broke down, and I had to walk to the theater.
Correction: I wanted to go to the movie. However, my car broke down, so I had to walk to the theater.
2. Use a Comma and a Conjunction
Another way to fix a run on sentence is to use a comma and a conjunction. This method adds clarity to the sentence, making it easier to read and comprehend.
When two clauses form a sentence in a run-on, using a comma and conjunction can create a compound sentence. A conjunction will join the clauses, and the comma makes the sentence easier to read. Here’s an example:
Original: The book was long, it had many chapters.
Correction: The book was long, but it had many chapters.
In the correction, the conjunction ‘but’ connects the two clauses, and the comma makes the sentence readable.
3. Add a Semicolon
The third answer to how to fix a run on sentence is to use a semicolon in place of a conjunction and a comma. This method gives a greater sense of connection between the sentences, creating a concise message and a smooth flow.
Semicolons are an excellent way to connect two related independent clauses without using a conjunction. This method can be more effective than using a comma and a conjunction because it strengthens the relationship between the clauses. Here’s an example of how to use semicolons:
Original: The store was full, there was no space to move around.
Correction: The store was full; there was no space to move around.
In the correction, the semicolon connects the two closely related clauses more effectively, helping to strengthen the sentence’s structure.
4. Use a Subordinate Conjunction
The fourth answer to how to fix a run on sentence is to use a subordinate conjunction. This method involves making one of the clauses subordinate to the other, producing greater clarity and concision.
Subordinate conjunctions are also called dependent words, and they introduce dependent clauses. Using subordination, writers can achieve clarity, coherence, and text cohesion and coherence, especially in complex sentences. Here’s an example:
Original: They decided to go camping for the weekend, they purchased all the supplies.
Correction: They decided to go camping for the weekend because they had purchased all the supplies.
In this correction, the clause ‘because’ introduces the second part as a dependent clause, giving both clauses clarity, and making the sentence read better.
Run on sentences can make your writing appear unprofessional. They can make it difficult to convey your message and, worse, damage the credibility of your work. Fixing run on sentences is crucial if you aim to produce clear and concise writing. The ability to recognize a run on sentence and the four techniques above will help you eliminate run-on sentences from your writing once and for all.
Understanding the basic grammar rules is also crucial. Using appropriate punctuation marks such as commas, colons, semicolons, and coordinating conjunctions can ensure that your writing is free from run on sentences from the beginning.
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