What is a run-on sentence?

A run-on (or fused) sentence consists of two or more independent clauses that have been joined without appropriate punctuation or coordinating words. Dividing a run-on sentence into concise, meaningful units can help to clarify your message.

How might this run-on sentence be divided?

  • Locate the fused independent clauses; it may help to underline the subject-verb pairs.
  • Draw a vertical line (or lines) on your paper to separate the independent clauses.
  • Use an end mark and proper capitalization to separate the independent clauses into two (or more) complete sentences.
  • Use a comma followed by a coordinating conjunction (fanboys: for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so) to separate related independent clauses.
  • Use a semicolon (;), colon (:), or dash (–) to separate related independent clauses.
  • Change one independent clause into a dependent clause and join the two clauses, using appropriate punctuation.
  • Rewrite two fused independent clauses as one cohesive independent clause.

Let’s look at an example:

Incorrect: One way to confront a problem is to seek advice it can come from someone with more life experience.

Correction A: One way to confront a problem is to seek advice; it can come from someone with more life experience.

Correction B: One way to confront a problem is to seek advice. Frequently, guidance can come from someone with more life experience.