Grammar Week: Run-on Sentences and Comma Splices

The period is your friend, fellow writers. I know a comma is supposed to signify a pause, but let’s face it, a lot of times people just blow right through those babies, resulting in an on-going running commentary in one’s head that sounds a little like “Shewenttothestorewheretheyhadjustrestockedthesodaanddecidedthat
shewouldhavetherootbeerasthatwasherfavorite.”

Onwards.

So, a comma splice is a run-on sentence, but a run-on sentence is not necessarily a comma splice.

A run-on sentence is any sentence with more than one complete thought that lacks the proper conjunctions or punctuation.

Run-on sentences can be used for emphasis, but, in general, if you use them a lot, you look like ceiling turtles have come in the night and stolen all your punctuation. Comma splices are generally more accepted than general run-ons, but same thing.

Run-on sentence example: “We need to go to the store we need to eat cheese.”

See the problem?

Comma splice: “We need to go to the store, we need to eat cheese.”

Comma splices can multiply a bit ridiculously. “We need to go to the store, we need to eat cheese, I really like cheese, don’t you like cheese?”

Don’t be that person. Editors dislike you greatly.

It’s not that hard to fix a run-on. You have three options.

Option 1) Add a period. “We need to go to the store. We need to eat cheese.”

Option 2) Add a semi-colon. “We need to go to the store; we need to eat cheese.”

Option 3) Add a conjunction. “We need to go to the store, and we need to eat cheese.”

I know it’s tempting to drop the punctuation when you’re typing, but someone will eventually need to put it in, and if you want people to read your stories and give you feedback, you’ll get much more use out of a review from someone who’s not distracted by your inability to complete a thought.

Any questions on run-ons?

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