Punctuation · Uncategorized

A Bad Case of the Runs – Run-on Sentences and Comma Splice

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Rasmos Olsen

Two related problems that are often seen, and not only in texts written by learners of English. Here’s how to correct them.

 

What do you think of this sentence:

1 He’s a doctor he loves his job.

Does it look perfectly okay to you?

If yes, you may be writing many more run-on sentences. They’re incorrect!

A run-on sentence is when you’re continuing after your first sentence with another sentence, without a proper full stop (.) or a conjunction (and, but, etc.).

Here’s how you can correct the sentence:

He’s a doctor and he loves his job.

He’s a doctor. He loves his job.

 

How about this sentence:

2 She’s hungry, she’s going to eat an apple.

This is also a run-on sentence. Because it uses a comma between the two sentences, it’s called a comma splice.

A comma splice is incorrect, because you can’t use a comma between two independent clauses (sentences). You need to separate the two sentences by a full stop (.), a semi-colon (;) or a conjunction (and, but, etc.).

Correct sentences:

She’s hungry. She’s going to eat an apple.

She’s hungry, so she’s going to eat an apple.

She’s hungry; she’s going to eat an apple.

 

Another example of comma splice:

3 He wanted to phone her, he had lost her number.

Correct sentences:

He wanted to phone her, but he had lost her number.

He wanted to phone her. However, he had lost her number.

He wanted to phone her. Unfortunately, he had lost her number.

 

Exercise:

Say about the following sentences whether it’s a run-on sentence, a comma splice, or both. Then correct the sentence.

It’s 8 o’clock he’s going to work now.

He loves baking pies, he bakes one every weekend.

There are many fine paintings in this gallery, you will find one for your budget too.

The houses in my neighbourhood are too expensive I’m going to move to a cheaper one.

The famous model was wearing a knit sweater, I want one too.

It’s getting late, shouldn’t we get to bed?

The phone is ringing I’m busy.

The answers to this exercise are underneath.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Answers: 

1 run-on sentence. – It’s 8 o’clock. He’s going to work now.

2 comma splice. – He loves baking pies; he bakes one every weekend.

3 comma splice. – There are many fine paintings in this gallery, and you will find one for your budget too.

4 run-on sentence. – The houses in my neighbourhood are too expensive, so I’m going to move to a cheaper one.

5 comma splice. – The famous model was wearing a knit sweater. I want one too.

6 comma splice. – It’s getting late. Shouldn’t we get to bed?

7 run-on sentence. – The phone is ringing, but I’m busy.

 

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