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What Are Run-On Sentences?

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

 

By
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?

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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About the Author

Mignon Fogarty

Mignon Fogarty is the founder of Quick and Dirty Tips and the author of seven books on language, including the New York Times bestseller "Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing." She is an inductee in the Podcasting Hall of Fame, and the show is a five-time winner of Best Education Podcast in the Podcast Awards. She has appeared as a guest expert on the Oprah Winfrey Show and the Today Show.

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