Need-to-know Grammar: Run-On Sentences

June 5, 2006

A run-on sentence contains two or more independent clauses that are not connected by the proper punctuation. A run-on sentence may have a period as its only punctuation mark, or it may be inappropriately punctuated with one or more commas (this type of run-on sentence is called a "comma splice.")

The college entrance examinations will test your ability to identify and correct run-on sentences. Furthermore, you should be aware of the different ways to combine and separate independent clauses so that your writing is effective, clear, and concise.


This is a run-on sentence:

I can't wait to go to the concert my favorite band is playing.

The sentence contains two independent clauses that run into each other:

  1. "I can't wait to go to the concert"
  2. "my favorite band is playing"

These are the different ways to correct the error:

1. Use a period to separate the independent clauses into sentences.

I can't wait to go to the concert. My favorite band is playing.

2. Use a semicolon to separate the independent clauses within a single sentence. A semicolon can be used alone, or it can be followed by a conjunctive adverb and a comma. (You may need to restructure the sentence when using a conjunctive adverb to maintain the clarity of the sentence.)

  • conjunctive adverbs: also, consequently, furthermore, however, indeed, instead, likewise, meanwhile, nevertheless, nonetheless, otherwise, therefore, thus

I can't wait to go to the concert; my favorite band is playing.

My favorite band is playing; consequently, I can't wait to go to the concert.

3. Use a conjunction to join the two clauses. Depending on the context, use either a coordinating conjunction and a comma or a subordinating conjunction alone. (If you choose to restructure the sentence and place the subordinate clause first, use a comma to separate it from the main clause.)

  • coordinating conjunctions: for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so (mnemonic = FANBOYS)
  • subordinating conjunctions: e.g., after, although, as, because, before, if, since, that, though, unless, until 

I can't wait to go to the concert, for my favorite band is playing.

I can't wait to go to the concert because my favorite band is playing.

Since my favorite band is playing, I can't wait to go to the concert.

4. Change the syntax to create a compound subject, verb, or object.

I can't wait to go to the concert and see my favorite band.

This syntax creates a compound object with two infinitive phrases: "to go to the concert" and "(to) see my favorite band."


This is a comma splice:

I am going to the concert, my sister is also going.

This sentence contains two independent clauses incorrectly separated by a comma:

  1. "I am going to the concert"
  2. "my sister is also going"

Correct the sentence using one of the four techniques:

1. Use a period:

I am going to the concert. My sister is also going.

2. Use a semicolon:

I am going to the concert; my sister is also going.

I am going to the concert; likewise, my sister is going.

3. Use a conjunction:

I am going to the concert, and my sister is also going.

4. Change the syntax:

My sister and I are going to the concert.

This sentence combines the two clauses by creating a compound subject ("my sister and I") and changing the number of the verb.


  • Use this quiz to test your ability to identify run-on sentences. The quiz also includes questions about sentence fragments.
  • Take these interactive quizzes on run-on sentences and comma splices: 1, 2, 3, 4
  • If you have trouble with any of the questions, post a comment and we will try to explain the error to you.
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22 Responses to “Need-to-know Grammar: Run-On Sentences”

  1. Timi Says:

    THis is really helpful.

    • CHRISTINA Says:

      THIS IS NOT WHAT THESE KIDS NEED TO BE LEARNING THEY HAVE A LIFE TOO THEY JUS CANT BE ALL UNDER YALL LIKE THIS IN A CLASSROOM ALL DAY UNDER THESE COCKY STUCK PEOPLE YAL CALL EDUCATED TEACHERS… I WANTD MY CHILDREN TO BE VERY SUCCESFUL BUT NOT BY LEARNING SUMTHING THEY AARE NOT EVEN GONNA USE FOR THIER JOB THEY WANT TO GET WHEN THRY GET OLDER

      • caramel Says:

        firstly, you give that name a bad reputation CHRISTINA. Also, kids need to learn this because it is important! It is the PRIMARY teachers faults and middle school teachers, they are slack adn the secondary teachers, expect too much… but this is an important issue! They cant get into uni with all these stupid grammar mstakes… and one would hope your kids can spell better than you.

      • Clay Says:

        looks like you could have used a couple of english lessons.

  2. Danielle Says:

    hey this is ok….i guess

  3. CHRISTINA Says:

    I KNW WHAT THESE KIDS ARE GOING THRUU

  4. george Says:

    wow trutly to use the changes of syntaxy tocorrect run on sentence

  5. Joanna Garza Says:

    HEY PPL I LIKE THIS!!!

  6. lil_cuttie Says:

    HAHA

  7. tyler Says:

    this really does help. but sometimes it don’t.

  8. Amarie williams Says:

    this really does help i really like this

  9. david Says:

    this is so helpful

  10. YOLO Says:

    YOOHHH ITS ME FAT ALBERT

  11. kelsey strapach Says:

    hey,hey,hey its me fat albert

  12. fat albert Says:

    fat albert really stop playing games im the real fat albert

  13. CLEE MONTANNA Says:

    idk what to do.


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