Thursday, July 5, 2012

A Light in the Darkness XI

Last week I discussed The Evil. This week I will be explaining – and combating – The Evil's only slightly less evil cousin, the run-on sentence.


A run-on sentence is two or more sentences running together with no punctuation between them. This would seem to be an easily noticed error, but apparently it is not. The thing that makes this particular error so devious is the addition of a coordinating conjunction, but not adding the oh-so-necessary comma with it.

Here are some examples.

1. The vampires always chase and the werewolves always run. 
2. The delicious blood had been laced with laudanum for an intoxicating effect I enjoyed this.
3. He had always longed to be a vampire so when he became a werewolf he was so furious he howled.

I said, STFU!

The corrections are usually quite simple. Often the addition of a comma is all that is necessary.

1. The vampires always chase, and the werewolves always run.

A comma before the “and” transformed that run-on sentence into a perfectly serviceable compound sentence.

2. The delicious blood had been laced with laudanum for an intoxicating effect, which I enjoyed.

Transforming the second sentence into a subordinate clause fixed that one, but it could have been cut into two sentences.

2. The delicious blood had been laced with laudanum for an intoxicating effect. I enjoyed this.

We now have two correct sentences where once we had a great evil.

3. He had always longed to be a vampire, so when he became a werewolf he was so furious he howled.

This sentence took a comma before the first “so”, correcting it. What could have been confusing was the presence of the second “so”. As it stands, that “so” does not function as a coordinating conjunction, but it easily could have. (For clarity's sake, I have removed the first sentence, making it easier to see what I did.)

3. When he became a werewolf he was furious, so he howled.

I moved the “so” to the position after the “furious”, thereby causing it to function as a coordinating conjunction.

I knew what a run-on sentence was before this blog.

Remember, just as a comma is not strong enough alone to combine two sentences, so, too, does a coordinating conjunction require help.

Until next week, keep those grammar candles burning!


  1. Good post. We can always use reminders about the "g" word :-)

  2. Awwww, such a cute puppy with glasses. :P Love it.

    And I'm snuffing out my blasted grammar candles, not burning them.

  3. Great post! Grammar is very, very important...unfortunately it doesn't appear to be taught in schools here..well, not in English classes. Imagine the frustration of teaching French to a class of 14 year olds who don't know what an adjective is.
    Hugs xx

  4. Dariel, I like hitting that "g" spot every week.

    Tory, hipster doggie!

    Susie, I hear ya. A sad state of affairs.

  5. Great post Adonis! I laugh every time I catch myself using run-on sentences. They always sound fine in my head...when the little voices speak them...

  6. Loved the doggie and wolf pics you used.

    I have a tendency to write run-on sentences. My fix is: If the sentence is like three lines long or more, break it down into two or three sentences. Works every time.

  7. Rosanna, it's natural, because we speak in run-on sentences. That's the difference between the spoken word and the written word. ;)

    Angelina, thanks! The Mrs writes the blog, and then the Mr reads it, formats it, and adds the pics and the captions. A nice combo, methinks!

  8. Me no likey run on sentences. It give me a headaches like monster paragraphs that go on for a half or whole page. Yuck!


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