The Write Stuff
Fall 2008 Volume 4 Issue 4
Don’t Let Run-on Sentences Trip You Up
You’ve heard me say this before: it’s your job as a writer to make the things you write as easy to read as possible. With that said, when your writing is filled with run-on sentences, you are doing yourself (and your readers) a significant disservice.
Many people believe that a run-on sentence is merely a sentence that “runs on” for a long time. That’s not actually true, since the definition of a run-on sentence is joining two or more complete sentences with no punctuation.
Here are four ways to correct run-on sentences:
1. Break them into two sentences. Run-on: I thought the Cubs would go to the World Series this year I was wrong. Correct: I thought the Cubs would go to the World Series this year. I was wrong.
2. Use a semi-colon. Run-on: Thank goodness hockey season starts this week I must forget about the Cubs’ latest failure. Correct: Thank goodness hockey season starts this week; I must forget about the Cubs’ latest failure.
3. Use a coordinating conjunction (and, but, or, yet, for, so). Run-on: The LA fans were brutal to us it was hard to congratulate them. Correct: The LA fans were brutal to us, so it was hard to congratulate them.
4. Use a subordinating conjunction (after, before, because, even though, since, until, when). Run-on: Gabe and I like the Cubs Jenna does not. Correct: Although Gabe and I like the Cubs, Jenna does not.
Remember that even a short sentence can be of the run-on variety:
Run-on: Thanks I needed that.
Correct: Thanks. I needed that.
That sentiment goes out to everyone who called or e-mailed me with “condolences” regarding the Cubs’ early playoff exit. Wait ’til next year!
Have a great fall. I can’t carve your pumpkin, but I can offer writing and editing expertise. Call me at 619-291-4645 to discuss your needs.