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.

  1. Divide or separate the sentences with the correct punctuation (a period, not a comma) and capitalize the first word of the second sentence.
  2. Add a compound conjunction. (and, or, but, so, yet, for, nor)
  3. 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.)
  4. Blend the sentences together. (Rearrange and blend information making one complete thought.)
  5. Use a combination of any of the above.
  6. 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. 
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