Run-together sentences

Run-together sentences (or run-on sentences) are examples of sentences that should be divided up into two sentences but have been written as if they are one sentence. Writing sentences like this is a common mistake.

Look at these two examples. Why do we describe them as run-together sentences?

  • The corner-shop near us sells groceries and vegetables it also wells wine and beer.
  • Jabu always prepares his lectures at the weekend he finds it easier that way.

They are described as run-together (or run-on) sentences because in fact they are both made up of two sentences. They should be divided up in the following ways:

  • The corner-shop near us sells groceries and vegetables. It also wells wine and beer.
  • Jabu always prepares his lectures at the weekend. He finds it easier that way.

We can correct run-together sentences in several different ways.

  1. We can use a semicolon if the sentences are not too long. We can also make two separate sentences.
    • Jacob will start his new job in January; he's looking forward to it.
    • The children love their new house; they play all the time in the garden.
  2. We can join sentences using a linking word like and, but, so, or, yet, for.
    • Jacob will start his new job in January and he's looking forward to it.
    • The children love their new house so they play all the time in the garden.
  3. Words such as because, although, since, so that, whereas can be used to begin a dependent clause that cannot stand alone.
    • He was very tired and weary because it was a long way.
    • Some countries have a long history of peace although this is not true of others.
  4. We can use a linking word or phrase (however, nevertheless, in addition, for example, on the other hand, moreover, therefore, consequently, in contrast) to make links between clauses/sentences.
    • The area is very beautiful; however, it's also very remote.
    • The government's tax policy needs reform; for example, inheritance tax.
    • Her style on the dance-floor is faultless; in contrast, her private life is in chaos.

    Some other examples:

    • ! Most accidents are caused by young male drivers they rarely have a driving licence.
    • Most accidents are caused by young male drivers; they rarely have a driving licence.
    • ! Some of the products were faulty the majority of them were fine.
    • Some of the products were faulty; nevertheless, the majority of them were fine.
    • ! The Prime Minister was in favour he wanted to send more troops.
    • The Prime Minister was in favour; moreover, he wanted to send more troops.

     

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