Run-on sentences in English

Do you guys know what a run-on sentence in English is? You might be writing a lot of run-on sentences. Let’s understand what a run-on sentence in English.

What is a run-on sentence in English?

Run-on sentence definition: A run-on sentence in English, also known as a fused sentence, occurs when two sentences are joined together without being punctuated properly. It is a grammatical mistake that needs to be corrected using the correct punctuation (periods, semi-colons, commas with a coordinating conjunction, and colons).

Run-on sentences are not only written by non-native English speakers, but they are also written by native English speakers. It is such a common mistake that it is often ignored or unnoticed by people.

Run-on sentence in English

Different types of run-on sentences in English

1. Two sentences joined without any punctuation.

This is the first type of a run-on sentence. Here, two sentences are joined without using any punctuation mark.

I love watching horror movies they keep me on my toes.

This is an example of a run-on sentence. Here, two sentences are joined without being punctuated.

Sentence 1: I love watching horror movies.
Sentence 2: They keep me on my toes.

2. Two sentences joined by a comma.

Here, two sentences are joined by a comma, which is incorrect to do, and that is why it is considered a run-on sentence. This error is called a “comma splice” in English.

You must watch the movie that I watched last night, it is one of the best movies I have ever watched.

This sentence has two complete sentences:

Sentence 1: You must watch the movie that I watched last night
Sentence 2: it is one of the best movies I have ever watched.

3. When two sentences are joined by using a transitional word (however, nonetheless, furthermore, moreover) and commas.

I really want to buy this car, however, this is not the right time to do it.

This sentence looks fine, doesn’t it? But we can’t add two sentences using a transitional word and commas. We will look at the corrections in a while.

How to correct a run-on sentence in English?

1. Use a period (full stop).

The simplest way to correct a run-on sentence in English is to use a period and separate the joined sentences.

Run-on sentence examples:

  • I love watching horror movies they keep me on my toes.
  • You must watch the movie that I watched last night, it is one of the best movies I have ever watched.
  • I really want to buy this car, however, this is not the right time to do it.

Corrections:

  • I love watching horror movies. They keep me on my toes.
  • You must watch the movie that I watched last night. It is one of the best movies I have ever watched.
  • I really want to buy this car. However, this is not the right time to do it.
    or
  • I really want to buy this car; however, this is not the right time to do it.

Note: When you start a sentence with transitional words, use a comma after it, as we did in the last example.

2. Use a semicolon and join two sentences.

When two sentences are closely related, we can join them using a semicolon. But note that we will not only add two sentences together if they are closely related to each other.

Run-on sentence examples:

  • I love watching horror movies they keep me on my toes.
  • You must watch the movie that I watched last night, it is one of the best movies I have ever watched.
  • I really want to buy this car, however, this is not the right time to do it.

Corrections:

  • I love watching horror movies; they keep me on my toes.
  • You must watch the movie that I watched last night; it is one of the best movies I have ever watched.
  • I really want to buy this car; however, this is not the right time to do it.

Notice that in all three sentences, both independent clauses are related to each each, talking about one particular thing.

The first example focuses on the noun ‘movies‘.
The second example focuses on the noun ‘movie‘.
The third example focuses on the action of buying a car,.

3. Use a coordinating conjunction to add two sentences.

Coordinating conjunctions: for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so (FANBOYS)

Using a coordinating conjunction to add two sentences is a great way. It is probably the most common way to add sentences when they are related.

Run-on sentence examples:

  • I love watching horror movies they keep me on my toes.
  • You must watch the movie that I watched last night, it is one of the best movies I have ever watched.
  • I really want to buy this car, however, this is not the right time to do it.

Corrections:

  • I love watching horror movies, for they keep me on my toes.
  • You must watch the movie that I watched last night, for it is one of the best movies I have ever watched.
  • I really want to buy this car, but this is not the right time to do it.

Note: When you add two sentences using a coordinating conjunction, use a comma before the conjunction.

4. Use a colon.

Use a colon to bring two sentences together when the second sentence justifies, summarises, or explains the first one, or when the focus is on the second one.

Run-on sentence examples:

  • I love watching horror movies they keep me on my toes.
  • You must watch the movie that I watched last night, it is one of the best movies I have ever watched.

Corrections:

  • I love watching horror movies: they keep me on my toes.

(The second sentences justifies the first one. It tells us why I love watching horror movies.)

I love watching horror movies. WHY?
Reason: They keep me on my toes.

  • You must watch the movie that I watched last night: it is one of the best movies I have ever watched.

(In this sentence as well, the second one justifies the first statement.)

You must watch the movie that I watched last night. WHY?
Reason: It is one of the best movies I have ever watched.

5. Use a subordinating conjunction.

One more way to correct a run-on sentence is to use a subordinating conjunction at the beginning of a sentence and change it into a dependent clause.

Run-on sentence examples:

  • I love watching horror movies they keep me on my toes.
  • I really want to buy this car, this is not the right time to do it.
  • You must watch the movie that I watched last night, it is one of the best movies I have ever watched.

Corrections:

  • I love watching horror movies because they keep me on my toes.
  • Thought this is not the right time to do it, I really want to buy this car.
    or
  • Even if this is not the right time to do it, I really want to buy this car.
  • You must watch the movie that I watched last night since it is one of the best movies I have ever watched.

Note: When you place the dependent clause before the independent clause (sentence), use a comma after it.

  • Since it is one of the best movies I have ever watched, you must watch the movie that I watched last night.

More examples of run-on sentences in English

  1. You look amazing, everyone is going to look at you.
  2. She should go home it is getting late.
  3. The coffee was extremely hot I got my hands burnt.
  4. The class is over, you can leave.

Corrections:

You look amazing, everyone is going to look at you.

Corrections:

You look amazing. Everyone is going to look at you.
You look amazing; everyone is going to look at you.
You look amazing, and everyone is going to look at you.
You look amazing as everyone is going to look at you.

She should go home it is getting late.

Corrections:

She should go home. It is getting late.
She should go home; it is getting late.
She should go home, for it is getting late.
She should go home since it is getting late.
She should go home: it is getting late.

The coffee was extremely hot I got my hands burnt.

Corrections:

The coffee was extremely hot. I got my hands burnt.
The coffee was extremely hot, and I got my hands burnt.
The coffee was extremely hot; I got my hands burnt.
I got my hands burnt as the coffee was extremely hot.
I got my hands burnt: the coffee was extremely hot.

The class is over, you can leave.

Corrections:

The class is over. You can leave.
The class is over; you can leave.
The class is over, so you can leave.
You can leave as the class is over.
You can leave: the class is over.

Related YouTube lessons

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A YouTube lesson on Run-on sentences

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