Select Page

Friday Takeaways

‘run-on’ sentences

Which of these is WRONG?

*hint – focus on punctuation (commas, full-stops, semi-colons and linking words).

  1. There was only one shop. This has now been replaced.
  2. There was only one shop; this has now been replaced.
  3. There was only one shop but this has now been replaced.
  4. There was only one shop, which has now been replaced.
  5. There was only one shop, this has now been replaced.
Check your answer here

5. is WRONG: it is made up of two independent sentences. These cannot be joined with a comma.

What is a ‘run-on’ sentence?

The problem of run-on sentences is simply a punctuation problem that can easily be fixed.

Think about a basic sentence in English e.g. ‘I like tea.’ 

I call this a ‘S-V-O’ sentence: Subject (I) – Verb (like) – Object (tea).

This sentence is complete – it is in independent clause.

So I put a full-stop (period) at the end.

If I want to add any information to that complete idea, I have some choices.

1. Start a new sentence (simple option)

e.g. I like tea. I drink it every day.

2. Use a linking word (complex option)

e.g. I like tea and I drink it every day.

3. Use a colon or semicolon or even a dash*

e.g.

  • I like tea; I drink it every day. (semicolons link two ideas and can replace a full-stop)
  • I like all kinds of hot drinks: tea and coffee are my favourite (colons give more information)
  • I like tea – I drink it every day. (*some people think dashes are informal)

Common mistakes

If you google ‘run-on sentences’ (also known as commas splices) you can see it’s a really common problem (it’s the error I correct most when I mark my UK students’ work at University under-graduate and post-graduate level).

But it’s SO easy to fix once you recognise it in your own writing.

Here are some examples I took from an Academic Task 1 (Describing changes to a map).

Can you identify the errors and fix them?

  1. There was a total transformation of the design on the right side, where Cinema 2 once stoodthree more cinema rooms were built.
  2. There is still access to the cinema via the original entranceunfortunately the car park has been demolished.
  3. In the past, there were just 2 cinema rooms, the first one was on the left.
  4. At present, the cinema rooms are divided into 5 compartmentsthe first and the second ones are on the restaurant’s sidethe rest are on the opposite side.
  5. The owner also moved the beverage room and expanded the menus, consequently, not only can we enjoy refreshments but also food.
  6. Nevertheless, there are two things that have not changed, they are the toilet as well as the ticket service. 
Check your answer here

Please note that there are various ways of correcting the sentence (as outlined above – linking words, colons, semi-colons and dashes). Here are my suggestions:

  1. There was a total transformation of the design on the right side. Where Cinema 2 once stoodthree more cinema rooms were built.
  2. There is still access to the cinema via the original entrance but unfortunately the car park has been demolished.
  3. In the past, there were just 2 cinema rooms. The first one was on the left.
  4. At present, cinema rooms are divided into 5 compartments: the first and the second ones are on the restaurant’s side, while the rest are on the opposite side.
  5. The owner also moved the beverage room and expanded the menus. Consequently, not only can we enjoy refreshments but also food.
  6. Nevertheless, there are two things that have not changed: they are the toilet as well as the ticket service. 

Sadly, I checked these sentences with Grammarly and it did not detect ANY mistakes with run-on sentences!

Run-on sentences

Get all the Friday Takeaway Tips here

Friday Takeaways

 Members Academy Home Page

Copyright © 2020 www.ieltsetc.com. All Rights Reserved Privacy | Terms of Service | Log Out