• A run-on sentence is not just a Terribly Long Sentence.  No.   I can write a perfectly good really really really long extravagant sentence and it won’t be a run-on.  I can also write a bad long sentence that won’t be a run-on.  Furthermore, I can write a short sentence that is a run on: I laughed I cried.
  • A run-on  is TWO sentences fused together without a period or a joining word like and or but and a comma or a “danger word”  (subordinate conjunction)  from our earlier worksheet like although, because, after, when, if…

Here is a run-on sentencer: My neighbor Brett is twenty four he goes jogging every morning.

A comma splice is a run-on that tries to get away with being a run-on by sticking a comma in between the two sentences instead of a period.    

Here is a comma splice:

My neighbor Brett is twenty-four, he goes jogging every morning.  

Can you fix those two sentences?  How?

My neighbor Brett is twenty-four AND he goes jogging every morning.

  • Use two sentences.
  • Use a “fanboys” coordinating conjunction:  for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so.
  • Use a subordinating “Danger Word” conjunction:  after, although, as, because, before, if, since, unless, until, when, whenever, while.
  • Use a semicolon.  (NOTE!! A semi colon is a period that wishes it were a comma. Don’t use a semicolon where you can’t use a period.)

Here is an exercise. Correct the following paragraph by fixing the run-ons.

It was an astonishing exhibit, the Guggenheim Museum’s recent show was called “The Art of the motorcycle.” Museum-goers sported leather vests and ponytails, their motorcycles jammed the streets. Displayed were motorcycles through the years, including the earliest-known cycle. That was the 1968 French velocipede, it looked more like a bicycle with a steam engine under the seat than a motorcycle.  The Italian Agusta F4 was the latest model on display this one looked like a fantastic space machine. A 1993 Harley-Davidson stole the show it was a replica of Dennis Hoppers’ Easy Rider cycle. The show attracted more visitors than any other Guggenheim exhibit museum attendance was 45 percent higher than usual.

ON THE OTHER HAND, if you don’t have at least one subject and verb you get a…

FRAGMENT!!!!!!!!  A fragment is a group of words pretending to be a sentence, but lacking an independent clause.  Watch out for the following two rules:

  1. 1 Every sentence must have a subject and a verb. (In every sentence SOMETHING or SOMEONE must DO or BE something.)
  2. If a sentence begins with a subordinate conjunction, (danger word) it must be attached to an independent clause.

DANGER WORDS:  Subordinate Conjunctions!

after, although, as, as if, because, before, even though, if, in order that, rather than, since, so that, than, that, though, unless, until, when, where, whether, while.

The above words turn perfectly good sentences into fragments!!!!  

She sat under the blue sky thinking her thoughts.

After she sat under the blue sky thinking her thoughts.  

Before she sat under the blue sky thinking her thoughts.

  • These words (after, before) leave us hungry for more.  They cause us to ask, What happened then?  What comes next?  It’s okay to use them, but you need to add another clause explaining them.

After she sat under the blue sky thinking her thoughts, she fell asleep. 

Identify the fragments and correct them.

Jumping for great joy.  Anna shouted, “I won, I won.”  

Since we live in New York.  We have thousands of interesting events to see.  Ballets, plays, music.

To see all the paintings at the Museum of Modern Art.  It would take weeks.  

Although I haven’t seen him in years.  I still think of him often.

She was an amazing woman.  Who risked her life for the good of others.

On the stove in the corner in my sister’s kitchen.  There was a chair that had been in my family forever.

The most beautiful girl in the world living in Brooklyn.  

Although I hope to go to college.

After I went to the ballet.

If I read that book.

In the great hope of finding gold.