Correcting Run-on Sentences
When 2 or more sentences are written as 1 sentence, it is a run-on sentence. Two or more sentences run together being written as 1 sentence is also called a comma splice.
Run-on Sentence: The ball was rolling down the hill, it was heading for the lake.
Run-on Sentence: The raccoons were waiting for their chance, they wanted the leftover cat food for their dinner.
Students need to recognize when a sentence is 2 sentences run together so they can correct their error.
- One clue that a sentence may be a run-on sentence is whenever a sentence is 10 or more words long. That can mean the sentence should be double checked to make sure it was written correctly and is not 2 or more sentences run together.
- A sentence should be 1 complete thought:
- Each sentence should flow so there is no need to have a long pause in the sentence and then regroup as another thought begins.
- The information in each sentence should be connected correctly so there is no interruption of the thought.
- When students understand how to correct run-on sentences, many students find it easier to avoid them and are more likely to spot an incorrect run-on sentence when they unintentionally write one.
Run-on sentences are corrected 6 ways. If anyone of these techniques can be used in a sentence, it means more than likely the sentence is 2 or more sentences run together. If these techniques can be used, 99% of the time, they should be used. When a run-on sentence is written, use one of the following techniques to correct it.
- Divide or separate the sentences with the correct punctuation (a period, not a comma) and capitalize the first word of the second sentence.
- Add a compound conjunction. (and, or, but, so, yet, for, nor)
- Add a subordinate conjunction. (because, since, if, as, unless, after, before, although, while, when,…) (Other subordinate conjunctions may be used besides the ones listed here.)
- Blend the sentences together. (Rearrange and blend information making one complete thought.)
- Use a combination of any of the above.
- Separate the sentences with a semi colon. (The 2 sentences must have closely related information. Semi colons should be used to make a point and not be used randomly as an easy fix. General guideline: Students should be limited to no more than 1 semi colon per paragraph.)
Needs some practice sentences?
- Prepare to Write Lessons 22 – 28 are practice work for identifying and correcting incomplete and run-on sentences.
- A set of 10 lessons is being developed that works on identifying and correcting incomplete and run-on sentences. www.TheWriteFoundation.org
> Correcting Run-on Sentences