Run-On Sentences Lesson Plan

Instructor: Jason Lineberger

Jason has 20 years of education experience including 14 years of teaching college literature.

Run-on sentences are one of the most common errors in student writing, but they're easy to fix once students know how. This lesson plan presents a hands-on activity to help students find and correct run-ons.

Learning Objectives

After this lesson, students will be able to:

  • identify run-on sentences
  • fix run-on sentences through the use of ending punctuation, semi-colons, and commas with conjunctions and subordinators


30-45 minutes

Curriculum Standards


Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.


Use a semicolon (and perhaps a conjunctive adverb) to link two or more closely related independent clauses.

Materials Needed

  • word cards - see lesson instructions
  • exit tickets (index cards, sticky notes, or small sheets of paper)
  • scissors

Lesson Instructions

Accessing Prior Knowledge

  • The day before the lesson, end class with an exit ticket activity to assess how much your students already know about run-on sentences.
  • Display a few short run-on sentences. A common misconception that students have is that run-on sentences are long. You might use a short, fused sentence like, ''He passed to me I shot a three-pointer.'' You should also include a short comma splice like, ''I bought a telescope, we looked at the stars.''
  • Ask students to write corrections for these two sentences as their exit ticket. Collect these to determine how much practice students will need on identifying and correcting run-ons.

Hands-on Corrections

  • Begin class by defining run-on sentences and the different types of run-ons. Show the sentences from the previous day and invite students to make corrections.
  • Play the video lesson Run-on Sentences: Examples & Corrections. Stop at 1:17 in the video.
  • Move students into pairs and distribute the first set of word cards. To create the word cards, print out a run-on sentence using a large font size. Cut out each word. Also, print out a set of coordinating conjunctions, a comma, a semi-colon, and a period. Your first sentence might be similar to this one, ''I really enjoy playing hockey I would like to spend every afternoon at the ice rink.''
  • Instruct the pairs to arrange the words into two sentences with the use of the extra period card. Walk around the room to offer help and assess their progress.
  • Now the pairs should create a single sentence with a semi-colon joining the two independent clauses.
  • Finish by asking the students to make a sentence that joins the clauses with a conjunction.

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