Run-on Sentences and Comma Splices

Kristin Fracchia
Lesson by Kristin Fracchia
Magoosh Expert
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All right, let's talk about run-on sentences and comma splices. You are going to see these all over the test, so you wanna make sure that you are prepared to fix them. Let's start with a couple examples of what run-on sentences and comma splices look like, and then we'll talk about how you can correct them. Run on sentence.

Later this week, I will be going to the fair I go there every year. So a run on sentence has two or more complete sentences in it that have just been mashed together, with no type of punctuation whatsoever. So we have a complete sentence here. Later this week, I will be going to the fair. And then we have another complete sentence here, I go there every year.

So this is a run on, we need something here to fix it. A comma splice is kind of a lazy half fix for a run on sentence, it just throws a comma in there, but that doesn't fix it. We need to do more than that. We need a comma, a conjunction, we use a semicolon. There's some other fixes we'll talk about in a second.

But now, we just have two complete sentences just mashed together, just with a comma. It's not enough to fix it. So, how do you fix run-ons and comma splices? Well you have three basic options. The first is to make two separate sentences, that's pretty easy.

We're just gonna put a period in there and then problem solved. Later this week, I will be going to the fair. I go there every year. We can use a conjunction, and there are two types of conjunctions that we can use to fix a run-on or comma splice. We can use a coordinating conjunction.

This is one of the FANBOYS. FANBOYS is an acronym to help you remember what the coordinating conjunctions are. There are seven of them, for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so. That's it. Those are the coordinating conjunctions. So, later this week I will be going to the fair, and I am sure I will have a good time, so we have a comma, and a fanboy.

And that works. We can also use a subordinating conjunction, and what subordinating conjunctions do is make something not really a sentence anymore. Not a complete sentence, it makes it a dependent clause, instead of an independent clause. So here, we have this subordinating conjunction, although, here.

Later this week, I will be going to the fair, although I go there every year. And now look carefully at this part of the sentence. All of a sudden, I can't stand alone anymore, although I go there every year. That's all there is to it. It's not a complete sentence, so now we have fixed that comma splice, or the run-on that previously existed.

All right, let's look at the third way to fix a run on or a comma splice. We can use a semicolon. Later this week, I will be going to the fair; I go there every year. So semicolons are used to link two sentences that are closely related. And we can just put that in there and that fixes it. Notice that there's no conjunction here.

We don't use a semicolon with a conjunction, that would be overkill. We just need that semicolon to fix it. Let's look at a couple test examples. Okay, so here we have a sentence. Organic architecture, on the other hand, is not a style of imitation, because Wright did not claim to be building forms that were representative of nature.

Now, this one is a bit of a trickier question that I've thrown at you first, but let's go ahead and go through our answer choices, and see what we can eliminate. I'm gonna start from the bottom, answer choice D. Organic architecture, on the other hand, is not a style of imitation, Wright did not claim to be building forms that were representative of nature.

You notice that creates a comma splice. It just put a comma between two complete sentences that can stand alone. Organic architecture, on the other hand, is not a style of imitation, and Wright did not claim to be building forms that were representative of nature. So we would need something in there. We would need a conjunction, coordinating conjunction to make that work.

C, this is a tricky one. I see students want to pick this option all the time. Organic architecture, on the other hand, is not a style of invitation, however, Wright did not claim to building forms that were representative of nature. Guess what? However is not one of the fanboys.

There's no H in there. So, it doesn't work as a coordinating conjunction. It makes this another comma splice. Organic architecture, on the other hand, is not a style of imitation, because Wright did not claim to be building forms that were representative of nature. That connects this clause that's supposed to be connected, and it makes it all one sentence.

So, that works. And that makes that our answer, B. Let's look at another example. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, however, more of the population had become comfortable with the idea of automated technologies, automated banking machines became more popular.

Now this is kind of a long sentence. It's not super long, but you'll often notice the longer the sentences get, the more careful you have to be to be looking out for comma splices or run-ons, because it's a lot for your brain to keep track of. So let's look and see if we have two complete sentences, and particularly want, wanna be looking at the part that's joined in the underlined portion here.

So in the late 1970s and early 1980s, however, more of the population had become comfortable with the idea of automated technologies. That was a complete sentence. Automated banking machines became more popular. That is also a complete sentence, so we have a comma splice here, and our no change option.

So let's look at our answer choices. We have a comma and a FANBOY. So, a coordinating conjunction here, linking that. C, again, this is kind of like that however issue on the last one, therefore is not a coordinating conjunction. This would also make it a comma splice.

And D, use a colon here, which is kind of an interesting fix. But a colon is used to, further when the second part of it is further illustrating the first part of the sentence, and that's not exactly whats going on here. So that makes it B, an excellent fix for this comma splice.

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