Run-on Sentences

Run-on sentences are special types of sentences that are not actually correct ones. In this lesson, you will learn how to fix them.

What Are Run-on Sentences in English?

What Are Run-On Sentences?

Run-on sentences are not grammatically correct sentences. Actually, they are two independent clauses that are joined to each other in the wrong way and/or with the wrong punctuation.

Types of Run-On Sentences

The error which leads to run-on sentences can make two types of run-on sentences:

  • fused sentences
  • comma splices errors

Fused Sentences

If there is missing conjunction between two independent clauses or if it has to have a punctuation mark and it is missing, then we will face a fused sentence. Here are the examples:

We could see him he had no idea what he was doing.

Sarah couldn't deliver her speech she lost the track of time.

Comma Splices

If we use only a comma to link two independent clauses, then there is a run-on sentence which is called comma splices sentences. Here are the examples:

People were left alone in the streets, they didn't help homeless people.

We could be together now, he left without saying goodbye.

How to Fix Run-On Sentences?

There are a few methods in which you can fix a run-on sentence and change it to a correct sentence. They are:

  1. using a period
  2. using semi-colon
  3. using coordinating conjunctions
  4. using conjunctive adverbs
  5. rewrite the sentence (if possible)
  6. forget about the compound sentence and make a complex one

Using a Period

If there are two independent clauses following each other with no conjunction in between, you can use a period (also called full stop) to separate two clauses and avoid a run-on sentence. Check out the examples:

We talked to Jimmy. He was getting ready for his trip.

The students wanted to have fun. Sam was not that enthusiastic, though.

Using Semi-Colon

Instead of using a period, you can also use a semi-colon if the ideas of the clauses are similar to each other. Here are a few examples:

Patricia couldn't go out; she had the most important exam ever.

We decided to vote for Marco; he seems logical.

Using Coordinating Conjunctions

By using coordinating conjunctions we can link two independent clauses. Remember, you must use a comma before a coordinating conjunction. Here are a few examples:

They decided to get apart, yet they loved each other.

She wanted to get married to John, but her true love was Sam.

Using Conjunctive Adverbs

Sometimes we tend to use conjunctive adverbs to link two independent clauses. Remember you should always use a semi-colon before and a comma after a conjunctive adverb. The most common conjunctive adverbs are:

  • also, besides, consequently, finally, however, indeed
  • moreover, nevertheless, next, otherwise
  • instead, likewise, meanwhile, still, therefore

Here are a few examples:

You should take responsibility for your own actions; otherwise, you cannot change the situation.

You don't have a house; besides, you do not have a job.

Rewriting the Sentences

Sometimes the subjects of both independent clauses are the same. So you can easily link the verbs by using 'and' between them. Compare these two sentences:

We had lunch. We played football after that.

We had lunch and played football after that.

Using a Complex Sentence

If one of the clauses can somehow be defined as a dependent clause; you can combine the clauses by using a subordinating conjunction. Compare the examples:

I was there you were having lunch. → run-on sentence

I was there, while you were having lunch. → complex sentence


An error in joining two independent clauses can cause run-on sentences that are actually two types:

  1. fused sentences
  2. comma splices


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