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.


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



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.