Grissom's Grammar and Composition

This blog is for any student writing papers for college, for current and former students in my Communications Cluster at Lindenwood University, and my students at St. Charles Community College.

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I write for myself, for the web, and for everyone who gets me. I've been on a fasting liquid diet, traveled to Europe, and raised 2 kids. And I'm directionally challenged - I get lost a lot.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Four Fast Fixes for Run-On Sentences

Run-On Sentences
Definition: Run-ons are two or more complete ideas squished together without any punctuation. Some grammar books call this a fused sentence.

The run-on sentence below needs punctuation that signals the reader to stop and absorb each idea or a comma and a connecting word that sets up how the thoughts go together.

Soda companies market to children we should legislate so they can’t.

There are four ways you can fix run-on sentences.

1) Use a period
Add a period to separate both ideas.
Soda companies market to children. We should legislate so they can’t.

Readers stop at the period to understand the first thought, and then go on to the next one.

2) Use a Semicolon
Use a semicolon if one thought can flow naturally to the next.
Soda companies market to children; we should legislate so they can’t.

Caution: A semicolon should only be used between complete thoughts, otherwise known as independent clauses.

3) Use a Comma and one of the Fanboys
Show how you see ideas connecting by using a comma and one of the fanboys: the words for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so.
Soda companies market to children, so we should legislate so they can’t.

The first idea suggests the next, so adding so shows how the ideas go together.
Caution: fanboys are the only connecting words that can be used to fix run-ons with a comma. Words like however, moreover, and therefore can't be used this way or you create a comma splice.

4) Add a Dependent Word
Add words like because, although, or when to make one of the ideas an incomplete thought.
Because soda companies market to children, we should legislate so they can’t.

Adding the word because to the first complete thought leaves you wanting more. Because soda companies market to children …what? Now the first part of the sentence depends on the next part to make a full thought. That is why a fragment of thought is called a dependent clause. It depends on a full thought to complete its meaning.