Avoiding Run-On Sentences
A run-on sentence goes on too long, has too many parts, loses the subject, and/or lacks correct noun-verb connections. Usually, a run-on is either two or more different thoughts put together, or a list of things or actions that keeps going and going too long. Let’s take a closer look!
Here are two ideas crammed together:
Our race is on Saturday last year the race was canceled because of rain.
Huh? Does it mean the race was on Saturday last year or was the race canceled last year? This run-on should be two sentences because they are two different thoughts, and they cannot be run together as one. Look at this series of ideas:
Our race is on Saturday and the runners are training hard to win so we have a good chance of winning because our star runner is incredibly fast but the other team is strong so I will need to run my best in the relay race and the big race will be exciting for everyone but I hope we win.
This goes on and on. It is confusing and does not make sense after the first few parts (clauses) that are connected by conjunctions.
Remember the basic rule: a sentence is a unit of thought. The last example has too many thoughts. There is no reason to put them all in one sentence. All this will accomplish is confusing the reader, and we never want to confuse our reader.
However, we can correct that last example like this:
Our race is on Saturday. The runners are training hard to win. We have a good chance of winning because our star runner is incredibly fast. The other team is strong, so I will need to run my best in the relay race. The big race will be exciting for everyone. I hope I win.
This is ONE way to fix the example (other ways exist, too). In a long series of ideas, hunt the conjunctions (and, but, so) because often those are where you should put end punctuation such as a period to break up your run-on into more focused sentences. We will have to discuss this long topic again the future!