What Are Run-On Sentences?

Do you think run-on sentences are really long sentences? It's not that simple.


Mignon Fogarty,
Letters fly endlessly out of a book as though they are part of a run-on sentence.

Today, we turn to run-on sentences.

I bet a lot of you think that run-on sentences are just really long sentences that go on and on like the Energizer bunny. But actually, run-on sentences are sentences that lack punctuation; they can be long, but they can also be short.

What Is a Run-On Sentence?

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Here's an example of a short run-on sentence: “I'm a woman I am a truck driver.” (I was in a writing group a few years ago with an interesting woman who was writing a book about her experience as a female truck driver.) The reason “I am a woman I am a truck driver” is a run-on sentence is that it's written without any internal punctuation. I've fused together two complete sentences, which is why run-on sentences are also called fused sentences.

There are a bunch of ways to fix run-on sentences; the toolbox is filled with the same basic fixes you can use to repair comma splicesperiodssemicolons, and commas with coordinating conjunctions.

Next: How to Fix Run-On Sentences


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