RUN-ONS Understanding Them Finding Them Correcting Them
What’s NOT a Run-On Sentence? Is the following sentence a Run-On? Yes It has two main clauses improperly joined together. No I don’t follow politics very closely I especially don’t trust many of the claims that campaigning politicians make.
What’s NOT a Run-On Sentence? Is the following sentence a Run-On? Yes No It’s a complex sentence When in the course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
What’s NOT a Run-On Sentence? Is the following sentence a Run-On? Yes No It’s a rambling and wordy sentence. In modern day society, human beings these days express many different interests in many different types of activities, such as working, watching TV, cooking, or dancing, and one of these activities that is very interesting is traveling, which can take them to a variety of destinations to sightsee and experience so many different forms of cultures and societies that differ from their own.
What’s NOT a Run-On Sentence? Is the following sentence a Run-On? Yes It has three main clauses spliced together by commas. No I took a political science class last fall, it taught me about several different types of government, however, we closely examined how democracy and capitalism are sometimes at war with each other in the administration of government in the U.S.
What’s NOT a Run-On Sentence? • A lengthy sentence is not automatically a Run-On sentence. • Complex and Compound-Complex sentences are typical of more advanced prose writing. • College Writing often requires more sophisticated sentence structure to contain the expression of more sophisticate ideas, interpretations, or relationships. • A rambling and wordy sentence is not necessarily a Run-On sentence. • Compound sentences with three or more main clauses that are not clearly related to each other are considered to ramble on, but they are not run-ons necessarily. • A sentence that may seem to have too many commas is not necessarily a Run-On sentence. • Certain comma errors cause run-on sentences, but the frequent use of commas is not the problem.
What IS a Run-On Sentence, then? A Run-On is often a compound sentence written as if it is a simple sentence. A Run-On is sometimes a compound-complex sentence pretending to be just a complex sentence. A SENTENCE IS LIKE A DANCE with main clauses (independent clauses) representing the dancers. When the dancers are listening to the same music, they join each other in step and coordinate their moves to one another, so that they they create the effect of a single dance. THIS IS A PROPER SENTENCE When dancers are listening to different music but they occupy the same dance floor, their steps will move different beats, and they will create a jumble of uncoordinated dances that seem “run together” out of sync. THIS IS A RUN-ON SENTENCE Like dancers, sentences can fall “out of sync” in several different ways.
Run-Ons: Mixed Constructions Because a sentence is a dance and its steps are its parts, dancers can sometimes step on each other’s toes or knock into each other, tangling up the dance. This is called … GRAMMATICAL ENTANGLEMENT Example On Monday, I left extra early to cash the check at the bank was closed for a federal holiday. This type of error is marked in your writing by one of the following notations: Syntax (flawed arrangement or order of sentence parts) Awk (awkwardly composed sentence) Mixed (mixed construction: a single sentence elements is playing two or more grammatical roles in the sentence.)
On Monday, I left extra early to cash a check at the bankwas closed for a federal holiday. “Bank” is the object of the preposition in the prepositional phrase “at the bank.” The word “bank” is also the subject of the clause ”the bank was closed.” A word cannot be, both, a subject and an object. A clause cannot be a phrase, and vice versa.
Correcting Grammatical EntanglementMethod 1: Separate Into Two Sentences On Monday, I left extra early to cash a check at the bank. The bankwas closed for a federal holiday. Use a period (or end punctuation) to mark the end of one sentence. Use a capital letter to signal the start of the next. Repeat the entangled word or phrase where needed, or add new words.
Correcting Grammatical EntanglementMethod 2: Change and/or Add Parts Of Speech On Monday, I left extra early to cash a check at the bank, even though it was closed for a federal holiday. Make one of the main clauses into a relative clause (who, that, which, etc.) or a subordinate clause, using a subordinate conjunction (e.g., while, because, as, etc.)
Correcting Grammatical EntanglementMethod 3: Recast the Sentence On Monday, determined to leave extra early to cash a check at the bank, I discovered that it was closed for a federal holiday. In the example, the main clause in the original Run-On is now part of an extended past-participle phrase that modifies the subject “I”; a new main clause, “I discovered,” has been recast, and the subordinating conjunction, “that,” connects a dependent clause.
Run-Ons: Fused and Comma Spliced Sentences The most common type of Run-On sentence is a failed or poorly constructed compound or compound-complex sentence. The mistake happens in one of two similar ways: FUSED SENTENCES Example On Monday, I left extra early to cash the check at the bank however it was closed for a federal holiday. or COMMA SPLICED SENTENCES Example On Monday, I left extra early to cash the check at the bank, unfortunately it was closed for a federal holiday. These types of error are marked in your writing by one of the following notations: II (two parallel vertical lines indicating where the fusion occurs) fused or R-O (fused) c.s. or R-O (comma splice) c.f. (comma fault)
About Coordinating Conjunctions "Conjunctions" conjoin--or, link together--compound elements; when coordinating conjunctions are used to link two or more independent clauses, they create compound sentences. "Coordinating" compound elements with a conjunction means showing the relationship between or among them, and it indicates how the weight of importance should be distributed. AND, BUT, YET AND = equal coordination, simple addition "He grudgingly visits a psychotherapist weekly, and he continues to show no improvement." Both independent clauses have equal importance; they are two main ideas sharing the foreground and facing the camera without competing for your focus. BUT = equal coordination, simple contrast "He grudgingly visits a psychotherapist weekly, but he continues to show no improvement." Both independent clauses have equal importance; they are two main ideas sharing the foreground, but facing each other as opponents of equal ability and competing for your focus. YET = equal coordination, unexpected contrast (irony) "He continues to show no improvement, yet he grudgingly visits a psychotherapist weekly." Both independent clauses have equal importance; they are two main ideas sharing the foreground, but facing each other as unlikely opponents and competing for your focus in an unexpected or contradictory way.
About Coordinating Conjunctions OR, NOR OR = choice "Either he will visit a psychotherapist weekly, or he will continue to show no improvement." Both independent clauses have equal importance; they are two main ideas sharing the foreground and facing the camera as candidates from which one will be selected to the exclusion of the other(s). NOR = the removal of choice "Neither does he visit a psychotherapist weekly, nor does he show improvement." Both independent clauses have equal importance; they are two main ideas sharing the foreground but with their backs to the camera so that none will be selected to the exclusion of the other(s). FOR, SO FOR = cause "He continues to show no improvement, for he grudgingly visits a psychotherapist weekly." One of the independent clauses has more importance as the main idea, while the other relates to it as a reason or underlying cause; one is in the foreground pointing to the other slightly behind it as its reason for being here. SO = effect "He continues to show no improvement, so he grudgingly visits a psychotherapist weekly." One of the independent clauses has more importance as the main idea, while the other relates to it as an outcome or effect; one is in the background pointing to the other in front of the camera as the result of it being here.
About Conjunctive Adverbs Writers are sometimes prone to confusing coordinating conjunctions with conjunctive adverbs; however, when used with (or without) a comma to join two or more main clauses, the former makes a compound sentence, and the latter makes for a run-on sentence. At the start of a clause, conjunctive adverbs arepreceded by a semi-colon or a period (or other end punctuation). Inside the clause, they are set apart by commas. Remember, though, that these are adverbs; they modify verbs and verbals. (Note where the conjunctive adverb “however” is placed in the diagram on the next slide.) nonetheless otherwise similarly still subsequently then therefore thus accordingly also besides consequently conversely finally furthermore hence however indeed instead likewise meanwhile moreover nevertheless next
In this diagram of a run-on sentence, two clauses are connected by a reference to the bank (highlighted in red), but no word actually connects the clauses together. The “X” marks where one of the following proper connections could be added: a comma + coordinating conjunction (probably “but”); a subordinating conjunction (e.g., “even though”; or a semi-colon (because of the conjunctive adverb “however.”)
Because the two clauses are connected by a reference to the bank (highlighted in red), a relative pronoun can also be used to join the clauses together.
Six Ways to Fix Run-Ons • Use a Period On Monday, I left extra early to cash the check at the bank. However, it was closed for a federal holiday. • Add a Subordinating Conjunction On Monday, I left extra early to cash the check at the bank, although it was closed for a federal holiday. • Add Coordination On Monday, I left extra early to cash the check at the bank, yet it was closed for a federal holiday. • Use a Semi-Colon With a Conjunctive Adverb On Monday, I left extra early to cash the check at the bank; however, it was closed (it was closed, however,) for a federal holiday. • Add or Change a Word Into a Relative Pronoun On Monday, I left extra early to cash the check at the bank, which closed for a federal holiday. • Recast the entire sentence On Monday, I left extra early to cash the check at the bank, only to discover it was closed for a federal holiday.
COLONS: Colons [:] are used to introduce other clauses and phrases, such as a quotation, or elements in a series. They follow an independent clause (a clause that reads as if it were a complete sentence), and they are followed by two typographical spaces.* According to RuPaul, internationally renown gender-bending performer, in order to become a successful drag entertainer in the twenty-first century, one must possess four main traits: charisma, that enthusiastic mass appeal; uniqueness, that certain something others haven't seen before; nerve, the courage to be who you are; and talent, the indispensable ability to do more than look pretty in drag. *This is less required these days because html does not recognize two consecutive typographical spaces
COLONS: Colons [:], however, are sometimes used after salutations and other notations in formal and business-style letters, but even in this case the purpose is to introduce. Attn: Selection Committee Re: mergers and acquisitions To Whom It May Concern: Hello: cc: *Different letter styles use different punctuation. A colon is considered more business-like or formal.
Example: Contrasting colors are a combination of one the three primary colors and the blend of the remaining two: yellow and purple; red and green; blue and orange. They are often used in combination with a colon after a sentence that introduces a series of individual words, a series of phrases, or a series of whole clauses. A series usually has a minimum of three elements, but technically speaking, two or more elements in a row make a series. With three or fewer elements in a series, a comma and a coordinating conjunction should be used instead.* When semi-colons are used to separate elements in a series, you are not required to use the conjunction “and” to introduce the final element. SEMI-COLONS; Semi-colons [;] are not interchangeable with commas. Rather, semi-colons are used to separate elements in a series. • *There is some flexibility with this rule: a series of three elements can still be separated by commas, but a series of four or more should use semi-colons instead.
SEMI-COLONS; • When semi-colons are used to separate a series of two or more independent clauses without the introduction of a colon, they create compound sentences. • Here, semi-colons can be used in place of a comma and a coordinating conjunction whenever the writer wishes to imply the coordinated relationship between two independent clauses. This assumes that there is a relationship to begin with, and that the writer is not simply stringing together clauses in an arbitrary way. For this reason, semi-colons should be used sparingly: • Many believe the color green to be a primary color; this is a mistaken assumption. • In the example above, a conjunctive adverb such as “however,” “nevertheless,” or “regardless” is implied, but it is strongly recommended to novice writers that they add the conjunctive adverb anyways.
DASHES-- A dash [-- or —], is sometimes called an em-dash because it is twice the width of a hyphen (a.k.a. an en-dash). Dashes are not used interchangeably with colons; they do not introduce, but rather they segregate words, phrases, or clauses from the sentence around them and create the effect of digression, interruption, or emphasis: Example To be a pop icon in today's world--though, pop culture values unpopularity as much as popularity these days--one has to do more than show up to media events; Twitter, YouTube, paparazzi, and scandal--these all play a vital role in maintaining one's pop status. Dashes are also commonly used for attribution of authorship in inscriptions (those quotations sometimes placed at the beginning of an essay, chapter, or book): Example "Every time I feel the urge to exercise, I sit down until it goes away."--Mark Twain Dashes, however, should never replace MLA style parenthetical citations used in the body of an essay.