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Run-on sentences

A clause = subject + verb

A clause is independent if it makes sense by itself.

A clause is dependent if it is unable to stand alone.

Recognizing the run-on and comma-splice

Writers create an error called a run-on by putting together two independent clauses without punctuation or a connecting word.

Example: I went home he stayed at the party.

Writers create an error called a comma-splice, another type of run-on sentence, when they put together two independent clauses with only a comma.

Example: I went home, he stayed at the party.

How to correct the run-on and comma-splice

  • Make the two independent clauses into two sentences. Example: I went home. He stayed at the party.
  • Connect the two independent clauses with a comma and a connecting word such as and, but, nor, for, so, yet. Example: I went home, but he stayed at the party. (Note: You must include both the connecting word and the comma.)
  • Join the clauses by making one of them a dependent clause (a clause that is unable to stand alone), adding a word like because, if, when, since, although, until, or which. (If you use which, you may need to add or delete other words for the sentence to make sense.) Examples: I went home, while he stayed at the party. Although I went home, he stayed at the party. I went home to pay the babysitter, which allowed him to stay at the party.
  • Separate the two independent clauses with a semicolon. Example: I went home; he stayed at the party. Be Careful! The clauses divided by a semicolon must be balanced or closely related, and each must stand on its own as an independent clause.
  • Balanced: Today was delightful; yesterday was sluggish.
  • Related: I worked hard; finally, I was ready for the test.

How would you correct the following?

  1. The blame for juvenile delinquency is often placed on the family this overlooks the responsibility of outside influences.
  2. Spending does not always occur in the districts where it is most needed, another problem is that revenue from taxes is low in these areas.
  3. I do believe that people should be allowed to protest, they should be protesting issues, not America.
  4. Children need direction, they need discipline.
  5. I went home and he stayed at the party.

Possible corrections:

  1. The blame for juvenile delinquency is often placed on the family, yet this overlooks the responsibility of outside influences.
  2. Spending does not always occur in the districts where it is most needed. Another problem is that revenue from taxes is low in these areas.
  3. I do believe that people should be allowed to protest, but they should be protesting issues, not America.
  4. Because children need direction, they need discipline.
  5. I went home, and he stayed at the party.

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