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GRAMMAR & STRUCTURE — Examples
Run-on Sentences: Part A

 
 

Examples of common run-on sentence errors and how to correct them:

 
 

Run-on Sentence

The student wants to pass his test he studies every night.

Problem

There is no punctuation and no linking word joining the two independent clauses.

Corrected sentences (These sentences are simple or compound sentences) a. The student wants to pass his test. He studies every night.
b. The student wants to pass his test; he studies every night.
c. The student wants to pass his test, so he studies every night.
d. The student wants to pass his test; therefore, he studies every night.
Solution (There are usually a variety of ways to correct run-ons.) a. Separate the ideas into two sentences.
b. Join the ideas by adding a semi-colon.
c. Join the ideas by adding a comma with a linking word.
d. Join the ideas by adding a transition (e.g., therefore) with a semi-colon and comma.
Run-on Sentence Tom bought a pen and he bought an eraser and he bought a notebook and he bought a backpack to carry everything.
Problem The linking word is used incorrectly. The word "and" is generally not used more than once or twice in one sentence.
Corrected sentence Tom bought a pen, an eraser, a notebook, and a backpack to carry everything.
Solution Join the ideas by making a list of items and using a comma + and. Do not use and more than once or twice in a sentence. Use parallel structure when making a list of items.
Run-on Sentence Mary had a sandwich for lunch, she went back to work.
Problem There is no linking word. The comma is used incorrectly.
Corrected sentences a. Mary had a sandwich for lunch, and then she went back to work.
b. Mary had a sandwich for lunch; then, she went back to work.
c. Mary had a sandwich for lunch. Then she went back to work.
Solution

a. Join the ideas by adding a linking word with the comma. Note: In this sentence, you need "then" to show a logical time sequence.
b. Join the ideas by adding a transition, with a semi-colon and a comma.
c. Separate the ideas into two sentences.

See Sentence Errors — Run-on Sentences: Part B for more information about correcting run-ons and using linking words in complex sentences.