What are Run-on Sentences & How to fix them?

A run-on sentence refers to the incorrect placement of two independent clauses, within one sentence. The problem with these sentences is that they can become very distracting for the reader, and can prevent the writers from communicating their information effectively. They can be understood better through the terms: fused sentence and a comma splice.

The terms fused sentence and comma splice refer to and aim to describe certain types of sentences. With respect to a fused sentence, it is when two or more independent clauses are included in single sentences, however, no punctuation is present between them. Following is an example of a fused sentence:

            “Lecture began the teacher stated

            The teacher lectured the student took notes”.

On the other hand, a comma splice is when two or more independent clauses are found within a single sentence, and are separated only by a comma. Following is an example of a comma splice:

            “The lecturer talked, student wrote

            Class started, lecturer spoke, student wrote”

Moving forward, it is also important to understand the true nature of an independent clause. An independent clause is known as a group of words, which contain subject and verbs, meaning it is a complete sentence on its own. Following are some examples of an independent clause:

“Class started

The lecturer spoke

The students took notes”

How to fix run-on sentences

There are many ways through which run-on sentences can be fixed, and they can help add variety and sophistication to writing.

  • The fastest way to fix run-on sentences is to add a period to each independent clause. Following is an example of this concept:

“The lecturer spoke. The student took the required notes.”

Although this method makes the sentences grammatically correct, other methods can add more variety to the sentences.

  • The second way to address them is to add semicolons to separate independent clauses.

Following is an example of this concept:

Class started; the professor lectured.

The semicolon is regarded as a good solution for run-on sentences but better options are also available.

  • Run-on sentences can be fixed by using one of more commas, and adding the coordinating conjunctions, like: but, so, and for.

Following is an example of this concept:

“Class started, and the professor began his lecture”.
The professor lectured, hence took it as a chance to take notes.

Through these examples it is visible that independent clauses are being joined, hence a comma before conjunction is required. But in the case of three independent clauses, it is required to insert comma after the first two. For instance

The class began, the professor taught, and students acquired notes.

  • Moving forward, a sophisticated way to fix a run-on sentence is to subordinate one of the independent clauses. Through this, the wording can be changed to become a dependent rather than an independent clause.

Following is an example of this concept:

When the class began the professor lectured.
The professor lectured while the students took notes”.

Adding “when” and “while” to the independent clause made it a dependent clause. However, sometimes when doing this, a comma is required.

  • All of the above-mentioned solutions can easily fix run-on sentences. Upon becoming familiar with them, they can be used to add a lot of variety to the writing.

The examples below incorporate solution 1 plus 3.

Class began. The professor lectured, and students took notes”.

The following sentence uses solutions 1 and 4: 

“When class began, the professor lectured. Students took notes”.

Lastly, this one employs the use of solutions 2 and 4: 

“When class began, the professor lectured; students took notes”.

Exercises

Here are more practice sentences to fix run-on sentences. Revise them to eliminate the run-on sentences, however, one sentence does not require editing.

  1. Scholars argue about the accuracy of this claim this paper will protect it.
  2. The trial was an accomplishment, and my lab group and I was satisfied with the results.
  3. Historians have one view of this evidence, while religious establishments have a dissimilar opinion.
  4. My research resulted in three useful articles, I will use them as confirmation for my thesis.
  5. This method has some rewards other methods are less auspicious.

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