Run-On Sentences

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Writing Run-On Sentences

Run-on sentences are created in one of the following ways.

Finding Run-On Sentences

Start from the last line of your paper and read backwards, one sentence at a time. Stop at the first comma you see and read the part of the sentence in front of it. Could it be a sentence by itself? If so, read the part of the sentence after it. If it, too, could be a sentence, then you’ve got a comma splice that you need to fix. If either part can’t stand alone, that comma is OK; move on to the next one and do the same thing again.

You can use a similar strategy to find sentences that have too many independent clauses connected by the conjunctions and, or, but, or so; look for those words and then read the words before and after them. If you have two or more of these conjunctions connecting three or more independent clauses in the same sentence, you should revise.

Fixing Run-On Sentences

Use one of the following options to revise a run-on sentence:

Exercises

Examine each sentence and correct it if necessary. Note that some are already correct.

  1. The soprano sang a lengthy concert it was mostly opera arias.
  2. Football is a great sport and it is very cheap and you only need a ball and you can play it in the park.
  3. There was a long line at the gas station, we decided to go elsewhere.
  4. When the news came on at 5:30, we all watched attentively.
  5. The car was low on oil and needed water in the radiator.
  6. “All My Children” is a favorite soap opera even graduate students at Yale love it.
  7. My uncle lives in New Delhi, that's a city in India.
  8. The distributor had gotten damp the car would not start.
  9. I wrote a report, and I learned a lot from it, but it got a “D” because the teacher said it was full of sentence errors, so I decided to learn how to recognize them.
  10. On our trip we went swimming in the lake and hiking.

Credit: Adapted from “Run-on Sentences,” ISU Writing Center, https://www.isu.edu/media/libraries/student-success/tutoring/handouts-writing/editing-and-mechanics/runons.pdf, 2020.