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Run-ons, Fragments, and Comma Splices

a workshop presentation about how to find, identify, and correct Run-ons, Fragments, and Comma Splices, produced for the Sacramento City College Writing Center
by

Elizabeth Geisser

on 18 June 2014

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Transcript of Run-ons, Fragments, and Comma Splices

Run-ons, Fragments, and Comma Splices
Definitions
Clause: a group of words containing a subject and a predicate (a verb + any additional info)
Run-ons
A run-on sentence is one where two or more independent clauses are connected together without punctuation or conjunctions.
Fragments
A sentence fragment is a group of words that cannot stand alone and that is punctuated as though it were a complete sentence.
Comma Splices
A comma splice happens when two or more independent clauses are joined together with only a comma and no conjunction.
Patterns for Combining Sentences and Clauses
Dependent (
DC
) and Independent Clauses (
IC
) can be joined together in a variety of ways, each of which requires a different pattern of punctuation.
an SCC Writing Center Workshop
Conjunctions: words that are used to connect ideas together. These often indicate what the relationship between these ideas is.
Dependent Clause: a clause that cannot stand alone as a complete sentence. These must be combined with an Independent Clause to create a complete sentence.
Independent Clause: a clause that can stand alone as a complete sentence
Going to college is important for everybody no one should neglect studying.
He went to the store because she forgot and he needed some milk.
Nobody wanted to go to the store but Mike went anyways.
They weren't dangerous criminals they were detectives in disguise.
People who love technology celebrate the explosion of free speech online there is less focus on how the internet could be regulated.
Growing up in the South gave him a strong accent.
When I was going to Sac State.
For example, the work I did, the places I lived, and the people I spent time with.
A cat chasing a dog.
To be a writer.
Especially the families that had been most affected by the flood.
Andrew hit a deer, thankfully, no one was hurt.
We built a spaceship, we have no idea how it works.
While writing a personal story, she hoped people would like it.
Sara gets married tomorrow, yesterday was her last day at work.
DC
+
IC
: When you begin a sentence with a
dependent clause
, put a comma between the
dependent
and
independent clauses
and a period at the end.
DC
: When you have a
dependent clause
, it MUST be joined to an
independent clause
. It cannot be left alone.
IC
:
Independent clauses
can also be left all by themselves.
IC
+
IC
: (split sentences) You can also leave two
independent clauses
unjoined. You do so by putting a period between them and capitalizing the second sentence.
IC
+
IC
: (semi-colon) You can join together two
independent clauses
with a semi-colon as well; this shows a very close relationship between the ideas expressed in those
clauses
.
IC
+
IC
: (conjunctions) You can join two
independent clauses
with a comma and a conjunction, and this will indicate a relationship between the two
independent clauses
.
IC
+
DC
: You don’t need punctuation between an
independent clause
and a
dependent clause
when the
independent clause
comes first.
Practice!
The water began to fill the bowl and soon spilled onto the table the people seated in the deck chairs started to squawk the chickens realized what was happening, the old man seated in the window saw it all and wrote it down just as it happened.
By the time I get to Albuquerque she’ll be up and around.
The apples fell far from the tree, and rolled a little farther.
Maybe next year we will be able to afford it again but right now I need to save money for school.
We went last year but can’t afford to go again this year.
Going to Disneyland is really fun and expensive.
If you don’t know how to do your homework you should ask for help.
Writing a story about the end of the world.
Writers often don’t know when to stop writing they also sometimes don’t have perfect grammar.
Sam and Joe went to the store but they didn’t have time to work out.
Meghan, Liz and Jill went to the store and the gym.
More Practice!
Run-on:
People who love technology celebrate the explosion of free speech online; there is less focus on how the internet could be regulated.
No errors. This sentence has one subject, even though that subject is made up of three parts (Meghan, Liz and Jill), and one predicate, even though the subjects are going two different places.
Run-on:
Sam and Joe went to the store, but they didn't have time to work out.
Run-on:
Writers often don't know when to stop writing. They also sometimes don't have perfect grammar.
Fragment: Even though the word "writing" is a verb, it's being used in this sentence as the subject, so we need a verb to finish the thought:
Writing a story about the end of the world is depressing.
Missing Comma: Here, we have a dependent clause followed by an independent clause, so we need a comma:
If you don't know how to do your homework, you should ask for help.
No errors: "Going" is a verb being used as a noun (subject), and the rest of the sentence conveys a complete idea.
Run-on and Comma Splice: This sentence has 4 independent clauses with only 1 comma and 1 period.
The water began to fill the bowl and soon spilled onto the table. The people seated in the deck chairs started to squawk. The chickens realized what was happening. The old man seated in the window saw it all and wrote it down just as it happened.
Unnecessary Comma!: Just like above, this sentence has two separate verb phrases ("fell far..." and "rolled a little farther"), but it only has one subject. There should be no comma in this sentence:
The apples fell far from the tree and rolled a little farther.
Missing Comma: Here, we have a dependent clause followed by an independent clause, so we need a comma:
By the time I get to Albuquerque, she'll be up and around.
Run-on:
Maybe next year we will be able to afford it again, but right now I need to save money for school.
No errors: Even though there are two separate verb phrases ("went last year" and "can't afford..."), there is only one subject ("we").
Going to college is important. No one should neglect studying.
Independent clause followed by a dependent clause. No error.
Nobody wanted to go to the store, but Mike went anyways.
They weren't dangerous criminals; they were detectives in disguise.
I would like to be a writer.
It is pretty strange to see a cat chasing a dog.
When I was going to Sac State, I lived close to campus.
Everyone wanted to go home, especially the families that had been most affected by the flood.
Complete sentence! "Growing" is a verb used as a noun, and "gave" is this sentence's verb.
I told them a lot about me: for example, the work I did, the places I lived, and the people I spent time with.
Sara gets married tomorrow. Yesterday was her last day of work.
Dependent clause followed by an independent clause. No error.
We built a spaceship, but we have no idea how it works.
Andrew hit a deer; thankfully, no one was hurt.
Subject: what is being discussed, described, or dealt with: usually a noun, noun phrase, or pronoun.
FANBOYS: coordinating conjunctions (For, And, Nor, But, Or, Yet, & So).
Verb: action words, tell us what is happening in a sentence.
Preposition: words that tell us the relationship between things: since, under, against, by, between, in, to...
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