That’s my sentence, I wrote it it’s good!

The Dreaded Run On Sentence!

screaming-146426_1280On your first papers, I noted an unfortunate number of Commas Splices and Run On Sentences.

You need to understand that a sentence is a group of words with a subject and a verb that conveys a complete thought. That is ONE complete thought, not two, not three, not an infinite number. You can have a very simple sentence like the following:

I enjoy music.

You can add to that sentence to provide more detail.

I enjoy jazz music. or I enjoy listening to jazz music in Asheville.

In both of the above sentences, you still just have one key idea: I enjoy music; now you know that I enjoy jazz. You also know that I enjoy listening to that jazz in Asheville.

You cannot do this:

I enjoy listening to jazz I often go to Asheville to hear my favorite bands.

Now, we have two big ideas: I enjoy jazz music AND I go to Asheville often. To combine these ideas, I would have to choose one idea to be the main idea and another to be the helper (subordinate).

Because my favorite jazz bands play in Asheville, I travel there often to hear them.

Now, I just have one big idea: I travel often to Asheville which is helped out by the subordinate clause Because my favorite jazz bands play in Asheville. The subordinate clause tells WHY I travel often to Asheville. It could not stand alone because it does not express a complete thought alone. I couldn’t just walk up to you and say, “Because my favorite jazz bands play in Asheville.” You’d have no idea what I was talking about.

If you still need help with avoiding run on sentences, check out the Writing Center at UNC. You will also find help with fragments.

UPDATE:

If you still need help, check out these interactive quizzes from Aims Community College Online Writing Lab.

 

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