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Run-on and Fragments


What is a Run-on sentence?


These are fused sentences. When two complete sentences are put together in one sentence without separating them properly it is called a run-on. Here two independent clauses (with subject and verb which can stand as complete sentences) aren’t joined correctly. The sentences should be separate but are joined.


•    The school building is very big it doesn’t have a playground.
•    It was raining we forgot to bring our raincoats.

Run-on sentences have two or more clauses. They are usually run together without any punctuation. When speaking English we often use run-on sentences, however we pause and change our tone so people can understand. But when we write we cannot do this. Here we need to break our sentences into short ones so that they do not sound like a run-on.

Run-on sentences lack punctuation .Though they are normally just very long sentences, they can be short as well.


Fixing a run-on sentencerun_on_3

Depending on how different parts are related to one another and the tone and rhythm that is to be achieved, we can fix a run-on sentence.

a.    For two completely separate fused sentences, a period can be used


•    She is a girl. She is a pilot.

b.    If more connection between thoughts is to be maintained then a semi colon can be used.


•    She is a girl; she is a pilot.

c.    To make a comment on the connection between the two sentences a conjunction with a comma may be used.


•    She is a girl, yet she is a pilot.
•    She is a girl, and she is a pilot.

d.    To get fancy, a conjunctive adverb with semicolon and a comma may be used.


•     She is a girl; nevertheless she is a pilot.

e.    A colon may be used if the first clause introduces the second clause.


•     She is a girl: she is a pilot.

run_on_4What is a Fragment?

These are incomplete sentences. They do not have a verb or subject or both. A fragment lacks one of the major components of a sentence i.e. a subject or a verb. However dependent clause which have both subject and verb can be confusing.. These are called dependent as they can’t stand on their own.  A fragment can also be a clause (a group of words) that has a subject and verb but begins with a subordinating word like although, since, because, unless etc. Though these look like complete sentences they do not express a complete thought. They need more information to complete the thought


•    Since you asked.
•    Because his bicycle was in the garage.

These examples have both subject and verb. They are called subordinators.

To fix a fragment, subject, thought and complete verb are important. If these can be recognized the task becomes very simple. Then one has to look for subordinate conjunctions. If one is found, the dependent clause should be identified and attached to an independent clause.


•    Because she was late. (fragment)
•    Riya took the bus because she was late. (fixed)


What is Comma Splice? 

Comma splice is the use of a comma to join two independent sentences instead of a conjunction, semi-colon or period. The sentences should be separate but are joined by a comma.


•    She returned late at night, she didn’t have dinner.
•    The street is full of hotels, tourists come here regularly. 

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