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Run On Sentences: Examples & Corrections

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  • 0:00 Definition of Run-On Sentences
  • 0:20 Types of Run-On Sentences
  • 0:40 Fixing a Run-On
  • 1:15 Coordinators and Subordinators
  • 2:12 Rearranging Clauses…
  • 2:50 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Mary Firestone
Find out what run-on sentences are and how they can interfere with your writing. Learn about the different types of run-on sentences and how to correct them with punctuation, coordinators and subordinators.

Definition of Run-On Sentences

Run-on sentences can interfere with your effectiveness as a writer and are considered major grammatical errors. Run-on sentences are independent clauses that are incorrectly joined. An independent clause is a group of words that forms a complete thought. When independent clauses are grouped together, they need punctuation and other elements for clarity.

Types of Run-On Sentences

Run-on sentences come in two types: fused sentences or comma splices. Here's an example of a fused sentence: 'My instructor read my paper he said it was brilliant.' The clauses are 'fused' without punctuation.

Here's an example of a comma splice: 'My instructor read my paper, he said it was brilliant.' The clauses are 'spliced' with a comma.

Fixing a Run-On

You can easily fix your run-on sentences using these methods:

1. Create two sentences: 'My instructor read my paper. He said it was brilliant.'

2. Create a pause between clauses by adding a semi-colon: 'My instructor read my paper; he said it was brilliant.'

3. Add a comma and a coordinator or subordinator to create a compound sentence, a sentence with two independent clauses: 'My instructor read my paper, and he said it was brilliant.'

Coordinators and Subordinators

Coordinators, also known as coordinating conjunctions, can be used to correct run-ons, as shown in example three: 'My instructor read my paper, and he said it was brilliant.' Additional coordinators are: but, for, nor, yet and so.

Another class of coordinators is the conjunctive adverb. Examples of conjunctive adverbs are: however, besides, in fact and therefore.

Subordinators can also be used to correct run-on sentences. Use these when one of the clauses is less important than the other. Examples of subordinators are: although, since, when, while and because.

'Dave took his exams today he's leaving tomorrow.' This is a run-on sentence.

'Dave took his exams today, because he's leaving tomorrow.' A comma and the subordinator 'because' corrects the run-on.

Rearranging Clauses and Phrases

You're not limited to punctuation and coordinators or subordinators when it comes to correcting run-ons. You can rearrange the sentence components, if you want, or even add dependent clauses, also known as a subordinating clauses, to solve the problem.

Here are some examples: 'When my instructor read my paper, he said it was brilliant.' This is a complex sentence - it has one dependent clause and one independent clause.

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