What is a run-on sentence and how might you correct it?

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how do you know you have a run-on sentence ?

Image: iClipart

Today’s post is a quick-fix answer for the question, “What is a run-on sentence and how might you correct it?”

There are lots of complex ways to write sentences, but you really need to avoid run-on sentences so you don’t look foolish.

If you want to be able to write more complex sentences, I recommend you visit my commas page. In my mind, the longer the sentence, the more likely you are to have need of a comma. So become familiar with the many ways commas get used.

But let’s get back to the original question. Here’s my very simple definition of a run-on sentence:

Run-on Sentence = two complete sentences connected by a comma instead of a period (without using a conjunction like and or but).

1. How can you tell it’s a run-on sentence? If you have a run-on, then you have this fundamental sentence structure: subject + predicate + subject + predicate.
2. In most cases, the best thing to do about a run-on is delete the comma and replace it with a period.

  • Correct: Michael Phelps wore a purple swim cap. His goggles were foggy.
  • Incorrect: Michael Phelps wore a purple swim cap, his goggles were foggy.

3. It’s also okay to have this sentence structure: subject + predicate + conjunction + subject + predicate. However, you must put a comma before the conjunction in that case.

  • Example: Michael Phelps wore a purple swim cap, and his goggles were foggy.
  • Another example: Michael Phelps waited on the diving board, and his muscles twitched in anticipation of a quick dive.

If you need more help understanding subjects and predicates, I suggest you visit my “Sentence Structure” pages.

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