What Are Run-On Sentences?

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


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

How Can You Fix a Run-On Sentence?

How you fix the sentence depends on how the different parts are related to each other and what tone and rhythm you want.

For example, if you want to completely separate the two fused sentences, then you'd use a period: “I am a woman. I am a truck driver.”

If you want to keep more of a connection between the two thoughts, you could use a semicolon and write, “I am a woman; I am a truck driver.”

If you want to make more of a comment on the connection between the two sentences, then you could use a conjunction with a comma. For example, you could write, “I am a woman, and I am a truck driver,” which gives a slightly different feeling compared to, “I am a woman, yet I am a truck driver,” or “I am a woman, but I am a truck driver.”

If you wanted to get fancy, you could even use a conjunctive adverb with a semicolon and a comma: “I am a woman; nevertheless, I am a truck driver.”

There are even more ways to fix run-on sentences, depending on the relationship between the different clauses. It wouldn’t work for the sentence we’ve been using so far, but if the first clause introduces the second clause, you could use a colon to connect them. My main point is that you have to use something to connect two clauses that could be complete sentences on their own. You can't just fuse them together. If you do, that's an error called a run-on sentence.

Next: Run-On Sentences and Your Writing Style


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.