I’ve come across many people who believe a run on is a long sentence. And it drives me nuts! That’s not true. A run on can be either short or long. Length doesn’t matter.
A run on is a sentence in which two or more independent clauses (aka completed sentences) are jointed together without the appropriate punctuation or conjunction.
For example: “I threw the ball my dog caught it.” (Run on)
From the example, you can see there are two independent clauses.
Clause 1: I threw the ball.
Clause 2: My dog caught it.
So how do you fix this?
- Use a period:
- “I threw the ball. My dog caught it.
- Use a semicolon:
- “I threw the ball; my dog caught it.”
- Use a comma + coordinating conjunction:
- “I threw the ball, and my dog caught it.”
- Change the sentence entirely
For the third bullet point, you need both a comma AND a coordinating conjunction.
You can’t leave out the conjunction. “I threw the ball, my dog caught it.” (WRONG! That’s a comma splice)
And you can’t leave out the comma. “I threw the ball and my dog caught it.” (WRONG!)
You need both!
Now that you know what a run on is, please don’t ever call a long sentence a run on ever again. Please and thank you.