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Run-ons - Comma Splices - Fused Sentences

Summary:

This handout defines dependent and independent clauses and explores how they are treated in standard usage.

Contributors:Chris Berry, Allen Brizee
Last Edited: 2013-10-07 02:10:25

Run-ons, comma splices, and fused sentences are all names given to compound sentences that are not punctuated correctly. The best way to avoid such errors is to punctuate compound sentences correctly by using one or the other of these rules.

1. Join the two independent clauses with one of the coordinating conjunctions (and, but, for, or, nor, so, yet), and use a comma before the connecting word.

_________________________, and _________________________.

He enjoys walking through the country, and he often goes backpacking on his vacations.

2. When you do not have a connecting word (or when you use a connecting word other than and, but, for, or nor, so, or yet between the two independent clauses) use a semicolon (;).

__________________________;_____________________________.

He often watched TV when there were only reruns; she preferred to read instead.

or

__________________________; however,____________________.

He often watched TV when there were only reruns; however, she preferred to read instead.

So, run-ons and fused sentences are terms describing two independent clauses which are joined together with no connecting word or punctuation to separate the clauses.

INCORRECT: They weren't dangerous criminals they were detectives in disguise.
CORRECT: They weren't dangerous criminals; they were detectives in disguise.
INCORRECT: I didn't know which job I wanted I was too confused to decide.
CORRECT: I didn't know which job I wanted, and I was too confused to decide.

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