Tricky Tuesday: Run-on sentences; comma splices

A run-on sentence joins two independent clauses without a conjunction or appropriate punctuation. Example:

Jane bought a new pair of red shoes she wore them every day for a week.

A comma splice is similar to a run-on sentence: it uses a comma to join two clauses without a conjunction. Example:

Bobby went to a baseball game with his dad, it was his birthday and he had always wanted to see the Red Sox.

There are a variety of ways to fix a run-on sentence or comma splice, including the following:

  • Separate the clauses into two sentences.
  • Replace the comma with a semicolon.
  • Add a coordinating conjunction – and, but, for, yet, nor, so.
  • Replace the comma with a subordinating conjunction – after, although, before, unless, as, because, even though, if, since, until, when, while.
  • Add a semicolon and transitional word before the comma – however, moreover, on the other hand, nevertheless, instead, also, therefore, consequently, otherwise, as a result.

For example:

  • Jane bought a new pair of red shoes. She wore them every day for a week.
  • Bobby went to a baseball game with his dad; it was his birthday and he had always wanted to see the Red Sox.
  • Jane bought a new pair of red shoes, and she wore them every day for a week.
  • Bobby went to a baseball game with his dad because it was his birthday and he had always wanted to see the Red Sox.
  • Jane bought a new pair of red shoes; moreover, she wore them every day for a week.

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