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Run-Ons and Comma Splices

A workshop to identify and fix run-ons and comma splices
by

Laura Brooks

on 23 September 2014

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Transcript of Run-Ons and Comma Splices

Run-Ons
and
Comma Splices

Comma Splices
Independent
Clause

Run-On Sentences
facilitated by Laura Brooks
When you splice two things, it means that you are joining them.
A comma splice is two sentences (independent clauses) joined together by commas.
Hence, the name “comma splice.”
A group of words that contains a subject and verb and express a complete thought
(a sentence).
Independent Woman
Independent Clause Examples
She walked to the store.
Daniela worked on her homework.
Michael listened to his iPod.
Timothy was listening to the radio.
Take out the trash!
Dependent Clause
A group of words that contains a subject and a verb but does not express a complete thought (not a sentence). It is often marked by a dependent marker.
Dependent Marker
A word added to the beginning of an independent clause that makes it into a dependent clause.
Common Dependent Markers
If
Even if
Even though
Since
Though
Unless
Until
Whatever
When
After
Although
As
Whatever
Because
Before
Whether
While
Whenever
Dependent Clause Examples
When Jenn went away to college
After I thought about it
Even though you care about her
Since I worked on it all night
Because she wanted to go the mall
Dependent or Independent Clause?
Vertigo is my favorite movie.
While he was talking on his cell phone.
After she worked in the library all night.
She went for a long walk.
When he was listening to the radio.
Even though it makes you happy.
When you have two or more sentences (independent clauses) joined together without proper punctuation and/or transition words.
The sentence just runs on and on (Hence the name).
May also be called a “fused sentence.”
What's wrong with having a run-on sentence?
In English grammar, a sentence consists of a subject, verb, and complete thought.
When you have two or more of these joined together without punctuation or a transition word, it is confusing to the reader.
What can I do about it?
1. Put in a period and start the new sentence with a capital letter!
2. After the first independent clause, insert a comma and use one of the FANBOYS!
-for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so
3. If the two thoughts are related, put in a semicolon!
4. Make one of the independent clauses a dependent clause by adding a dependent marker and a comma!
Comma rules for dependent clauses
If you begin with the dependent clause, you need a comma after the dependent clause and before the independent clause.
If the dependent clause follows the independent clause, then you don’t need a comma.
Examples that BEGIN with a dependent clause
When he was watching the movie, he was startled and threw his popcorn into the air.
Before Michelle had her baby, she made sure that she was financially prepared.
Because Lindsey’s class was cancelled, she decided to spend her free time in the library.
After Joseph scrubbed the kitchen floor, the dog ran in with muddy feet.
Examples that END with a dependent clause
He was startled and threw his popcorn into the air when he was watching the movie.
Michelle made sure that she was financially prepared before she had her baby.
Lindsey decided to spend her free time in the library because her class was cancelled.
The dog ran in with muddy feet after Joseph scrubbed the kitchen floor.
Let's Try it out!
1. (Incorrect)
She was walking quickly to her next class she didn’t realize that she had plenty of time.
Remember, suggestion #1 says to put in a period and start a new sentence with a capital letter!
(Correct)
1. She was walking quickly to her next class. She didn’t realize that she had plenty of time.
2. (Incorrect)
I like to read short stories I don’t like to write essays about them.
Remember, suggestion #2 says to insert a comma after the first independent clause and use one of the FANBOYS!
(Correct)
2. I like to read short stories, but I don’t like to write essays about them.
3. (Incorrect)
This year is the 50th anniversary of the Beatles’ performance on Ed Sullivan the surviving members performed at the Grammys.
Remember, suggestion #3 says that if the thoughts are alike, we can use a semicolon!
(Correct)
3. This year is the 50th anniversary of the Beatles’ performance on Ed Sullivan; the surviving members performed at the Grammys.
4. (Incorrect)
Donald Trump is worth millions he still has really bad hair.
Remember, suggestion #4 says that we can make one of the independent clauses a dependent clause by adding a dependent marker and a comma!
(Correct)
4. Even though Donald Trump is worth millions, he still has really bad hair.
What's wrong with splicing a sentence with a comma?
The comma is a very versatile punctuation mark.
It is not versatile enough to hold together, or “splice” two complete sentences on its own.
It is just not strong enough.
What can I do about it?
1. Put in a period where the comma is and start the new sentence with a capital letter!
2. After the first independent clause, and after the comma, use one of the FANBOYS!
-for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so
3. If the two thoughts are related, put in a semicolon where the comma is!
4. Make one of the independent clauses a dependent clause by adding a dependent marker!
1. (Incorrect)
I wanted coffee, I went to the coffee cart in front of the ASC.
Remember, suggestion #1 says that we can put a period where the comma is and start a new sentence!
(Correct)
1. I wanted coffee. I went to the coffee cart in front of the ASC.
2. (Incorrect)
She really loved to listen to her iPod while she was on the treadmill, she always brought it with her to the gym.
Remember, suggestion #2 says to use one of the FANBOYS after the comma!
(Correct)
2. She really loved to listen to her iPod while she was on the treadmill, and she always brought it with her to the gym.
3. (Incorrect)
I am hoping that the Chargers will make it to the Superbowl next year, it is too bad that they didn't play well enough last year!
Remember, suggestion #3 says that if the two thoughts are alike, we can replace the comma with a semicolon!
3. I am hoping that the Chargers will make it to the Superbowl next year; it is too bad that they didn't play well enough last year!
4. (Incorrect)
Hana works on her homework, she gets a headache and needs to take some Excedrin.
Remember, suggestion #4 says to make one of the independent clauses dependent by adding a dependent marker!
(Correct)
4. Whenever Hana works on her homework, she gets a headache and needs to take some Excedrin.

20. (comma splice)
Because college can be very demanding, you should always go to class prepared.
1.(comma splice)
I tried to crash the class, but it was already overcrowded.
1. I tried to crash the class, it was already overcrowded.
2. (run-on)
Because driving cross-country can take about a week, you should allow time to sleep.
2. Driving cross-country can take about a week you should allow time to sleep.
3. (comma splice)
Sometimes my computer is really slow, and it seems like it happens when I have a paper due the next day.
3. Sometimes my computer is really slow, it seems like it happens when I have a paper due the next day.

4. When I drove to the store, I saw an ad for the new movie that I wanted to see.
(correct)

5. Toni went to Seattle it rained the whole time he was there.
5. (run-on)
When Toni went to Seattle, it rained the whole time he was there.



6. (run-on)
Superman could beat Batman in a battle, for Batman has no real superpowers.
6. Superman could beat Batman in a battle Batman has no real super powers.


7. (comma splice)
I'm not afraid of spiders; I just don't want them crawling on me.
7. I’m not afraid of spiders, I just don’t want them crawling on me.
8. (comma splice)
American Horror Story is one of the best shows on television; last season was about witches!
8. American Horror Story is one of the best shows on television, last season was about witches!
9. Even though she had plenty of time to study for the test, she put it off until the last minute.
10. (run-on)
While Jason was walking to class, the strap broke on his backpack and spilled all the contents on the ground.
10. Jason was walking to class the strap broke on his backpack and spilled all the contents on the ground.
11. (run-on)
When Michael went out to eat, the sushi was delicious.
11. Michael went out to eat the sushi was delicious.
12. (comma splice)
Please take care of my dog for me. I'm going out of town.
12. Please take care of my dog for me, I’m going out of town.
13. (comma splice)
He was wondering how long it would take to finish the test because it was very difficult.
13. He was wondering how long it would take to finish the test, it was very difficult.
14. (comma splice)
Because things are going so well for Britney, she got a deal at Caesar's Palace.
14. Things are going so well for Britney, she got a deal at Caesar's Palace.

15. (comma splice)
I love all the movies based on my favorite childhood cartoons, but I'm just waiting for a live-action version of Thundercats.
15. I love all the movies based on my favorite childhood cartoons, I’m just waiting for a live-action version of Thundercats.
16. (run-on)
The car was full of gas, so Timothy went out driving.
16. Timothy went out driving the car was full of gas.
17. (run-on)
I am so sad that there will be no more Harry Potter books, for they are so imaginative and full of action.
17. I am so sad that there will be no more Harry Potter books they are so imaginative and full of action.

18. Although I work two jobs, I still find time to spend with my family.

19. (comma splice)
Spring Break is almost here, some of us need a break!
19. Spring Break is almost here, some of us need a break!
20. College can be very demanding, you should always go to class prepared.
Time to practice what we've learned!
Remember:
Look for independent and dependent clauses!
Look at the handout for suggestions!
There are many different answers, so choose the one that you think fits the best!
But Wait!
There's More!
Services at the ASC
There are many different resources available to students in the ASC (Academic Success Center). A student needs assistance with reading and comprehending text, the student may take advantage of the aid available at the Reading Center. There are tutors in the ASC that can tutor on any subject all you have to do is make an appointment. At the Writing Center, you don’t even have to have an appointment you can just walk right in. The tutors there will help you with any part of the writing process, they won’t proofread or edit your paper. A student at Southwestern should take advantage of the resources available at the ASC they are there to help!
Definitions for FANBOYS:
For: Because
And: In addition to, also
Nor: Neither
But: However, Except
Or: Conversely, As an alternative
Yet: Still, Furthermore
So: Therefore
Full transcript