Edit for Run-On Sentences

To identify a run-on sentence,

  1. check to ensure you understand what a run-on sentence is
  2. identify all the independent clauses in the sentence
  3. check to see if there are any punctuation marks or conjunctions linking the clauses together.

1. First, identify all the independent clauses in the sentence. You can tell you have an independent clause if you have a subject followed by a verb. You can think of the subject and verb as an actor and action. 

Ex: I ate cake it was delicious.

Clause 1: I ate cake

Clause 2: it was delicious.

This sentence contains two subjects/actors paired with two verbs/actions, so it has two independent clauses.

2. Second, check to see if there are any punctuation marks or conjunctions linking the clauses together if your sentence contains multiple independent clauses. 

I ate cake it was delicious.

This sentence contains two subjects/actors and two verbs/actions, so it has two independent clauses. There are no punctuation marks or conjunctions linking the clauses, so this is a run-on sentence.

How can I edit a run-on sentence?

There are many options for revising run-on sentences. Here are three suggestions for revision:

  • Add a period or semicolon. This separates the independent clauses into two complete sentences.

I ate cake it was delicious.

Revised: I ate cake. It was delicious.

Revised: I ate cake; it was delicious.

  • Add a comma and a coordinating conjunction (for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so). This shows the relationship between the independent clauses.

I ate cake it was delicious.

Revised: I ate cake, and it was delicious

  • Restructure the two independent clauses. Combine the clauses so that they become a single independent clause or a combination of dependent and independent clauses.

I ate cake it was delicious.

Revised: I ate delicious cake.

Related Concepts

Run-On Sentences

A run-on sentence is an error that occurs when two independent clauses are joined without any punctuation or conjunctions.