HUNTER COLLEGE READING/WRITING CENTER
GRAMMAR & MECHANICS
Sentence Structure: Run-ons
When two main or independent clauses are joined without a period, semi-colon, or a comma plus a coordinating conjunction (and, but, for, nor, or, yet, so), the result is a run-on sentence, sometimes called a fused sentence. *Note: When a comma is used by itself between two independent clauses, it is called a comma-splice. Comma splices may be corrected the same way as other run-ons.

Correcting Run-ons


Example of a run-on:

When Mary's sister graduates from college next year, she plans to move out of state her mother is not pleased about this.

The sentence above has a dependent clause followed by two independent clauses:

she plans to move out of state
&
he mother is not pleased about this

There are four ways to correct a run-on sentence

1.Make the two independent clauses into separate sentences by placing a period between them and capitalizing the first letter of the new sentence.

Correction:

When Mary graduates from college next year, she plans to move out of state. Her mother is not pleased about this.


2.Insert a comma and an appropriate coordinating conjunction between the independent clauses. Coordinating conjunctions define a relationship between two clauses; your choice of conjunction will determine the meaning of the sentence.

Correction:

When Mary graduates from college next year, she plans to move out of state, and her mother is not pleased about this.


3.Insert a semicolon between the independent clauses.

Correction:

When Mary graduates from college next year, she plans to move out of state; her mother is not pleased about this.


After you use a semicolon, you can insert a transitional word, such as therefore, however, moreover, furthermore, or thus. These words often begin sentences; transitions, like coordinating conjunctions, show the relationship between two independent clauses.

Correction:

When Mary graduates from college next year, she plans to move out of state; Unfortunately, her mother is not pleased about this


4.Make one of the independent clauses dependent by using a subordinating word such as because, although, when, if, or even though.

Correction:

When Mary graduates from college next year, she plans to move out of state although her mother is not pleased about this.

The sentence above begins with a dependent or subordinating word, but you can still add another (as the correction demonstrates) to revise the run-on.

There are many subordinating words, which like coordinating conjunctions and transitional words, help make the relationship between ideas in a sentence clear.

For information, see handouts:

Methods of joining Related Ideas
Clause Connecting Rules
Transitions

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