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Properly Understanding a Run-on Sentence With Elaborate Examples

Rucha Phatak Mar 17, 2019
The sentence "he ran she walked" may make sense when read out loud. However, it may not seem so when written down. It is a classic example of a run-on sentence. To help you understand the concept in a better way, we present more examples of a run-on sentence.

Using It in Style!

Though it is considered as incorrect grammar, there are numerous run-on sentence examples in literature. For example, James Joyce used long and unpunctuated sentences in his novel Ulysses.
We all know how important grammar is when using a language. It is like the rail tracks keeping the sentence balanced and making it easier to understand. In some cases, ungrammatical sentences may make sense.
For example, in the sentence "he ran she walked", we know who carries out which action. However, the exact relation between them is unclear, it being a run-on sentence.

What is a Run-on Sentence?

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, a run-on sentence means, a sentence containing two or more clauses not connected by the correct conjunction or punctuation.

Run-ons are often thought to be merely long sentences. However, they are fused sentences, which contain too many ideas in the form of independent clauses.

What is an Independent Clause?

There are always three components in a sentence: subject, verb, and object. For example, Jim eats an apple. A sentence that has all these three or in some cases, at least a subject and a verb can be called an independent clause as independent clauses can stand on their own to make their own sentences.
In a run-on sentence, two or more independent clauses are joined together. There is always a lack of correct punctuation or an appropriate coordinating conjunction in a run-on sentence. It is generally considered as a stylistic error. The question is how to correct such a sentence to add more sense to it.

How to Fix a Run-on Sentence

• Adding a semicolon or a dash
He ran; she walked.
He ran―she walked.

» Add either a semicolon or a long dash between two independent clauses. It would make the sentence grammatically correct.
• Making it into two separate sentences
He ran. She walked.
» Add a period between two independent clauses to turn them into two separate sentences. However, this might disconnect them and the meaning may be lost.
• Adding a coordinating conjunction with a comma
He ran, but she walked.
He ran, and she walked.

» Adding a subordinating conjunction with a comma will correct the run-on sentence.
• Making one clause dependent
As he ran, she walked.
He ran because she walked.

» Another way to correct the run-on sentence is to make one of the two independent clauses into dependent.

Solving an Example

Adding punctuation marks or coordinating conjunctions makes the relationship between two clauses firmer. By choosing the appropriate punctuation or conjunctions, you can give the desired meaning to the sentence. Let us look at another example.

Run-on sentence: It is half past five we can't reach home before dark.
The sentence can be rewritten as follows to fix it:

◆ It is half past five; we can't reach home before dark.
◆ It is half past five. We can't reach home before dark.
◆ It is half past five, so we can't reach home before dark.
◆ Because it is already half past five, we can't reach home before dark.

Run-on Sentence and Comma Splice

Comma splices are sometimes considered as a form of a run-on sentence. A comma splice can be defined as the use of a comma between coordinating main clauses not connected by a conjunction.
In a comma splice, a comma separates two independent clauses. However, a comma is not strong enough to form a relationship between the two complete sentences. Therefore, it needs a coordinating conjunction to support it.
For example:

Comma Splice: People were mingling, everyone seemed happy.
When Corrected: People were mingling, and everyone seemed happy.

By adding the conjunction "and", the comma forms a relationship between two independent clauses.

More Examples

Here are a few more examples of run-on sentences to help you understand the concept better:

My editor read my article she said it was brilliant.

When Corrected:
◆ My editor read my article; she said it was brilliant.
◆ My editor read my article. She said it was brilliant.
◆ My editor read my article, and she said it was brilliant.
My favorite spread is hummus it is very garlicky in taste.

When Corrected:
◆ My favorite spread is hummus; it is very garlicky in taste.
◆ My favorite spread is hummus. It is very garlicky in taste.
◆ Because it is very garlicky in taste, my favorite spread is hummus.
John is a sweet boy he loves animals.

When Corrected:
◆ John is a sweet boy; he loves animals.
◆ John is a sweet boy. He loves animals.
◆ John is a sweet boy, and he loves animals.
It was muddy everywhere it rained yesterday.

When Corrected:
◆ It was muddy everywhere as it rained yesterday.
◆ Because it rained yesterday, it was muddy everywhere.

The sun is high put on some sunblock.

When Corrected:
◆ The sun is high, so put on some sunblock.