Run-on Sentences

Posted: April 22nd, 2014, 1:49 pm   By: brittany.corners

“Always remember, your bones will not break in a bobsled. No, no, no. They shatter.”—words of wisdom, which everyone can use in life, from the Oscar-worthy “Cool Runnings”


This week, we discuss run-on sentences.

Most people have all sorts of misconceptions, misunderstandings, and misapprehensions about the world. Some people think you can’t shoot yourself in the face with a harpoon, walk around for ten hours (so you can “relax and let the wound heal”), and then go to the hospital. Others believe it’s impossible to live in the brutal wilderness of Maine for almost 30 years, living off nothing but the food you steal from unsuspecting rubes—kind of like Aladdin, if he looked like a pedophile, snatching fruit at the bazaar with his bro Abu.

Likewise, many writers consider run-on sentences to be sentences that are merely too long. But the fact of the matter is that a run-on sentence is simply a compound sentence that lacks the proper punctuation. Run-ons can be any length: They just need a punctuation touch-up. For example, depending on the structure of a sentence and what literary effect you desire, a run-on sentence can be fixed with another comma (or fewer commas), a semicolon, or perhaps just a period.

Consider the following run-on sentences, which are followed with two correct versions:

Ex) I asked Jeff what his favorite band is and he said A Perfect Circle.

  • I asked Jeff what his favorite band is, and he said A Perfect Circle.
  • I asked Jeff what his favorite band is; he said A Perfect Circle.

Ex) Some people are born with the photogenic je ne sais quoi it takes to be a model some are not.

  • Some people are born with the photogenic je ne sais quoi it takes to be a model, but some are not.
  • Some people are born with the photogenic je ne sais quoi it takes to be a model. Some are not.

Now I’ve run on past my word count. Gotta go.