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Video Transcripts

Structuring Sentences: Common Error--Run-On Sentences

Last updated 6/9/2016

 

Audio: Guitar background music plays.

Visual: Video opens to a blank notebook with the Walden University and Writing Center logo. The words “Walden University Writing Center” and “Your writing, grammar, and APA experts” appears. The screen then fades to the video’s title slide with the playlist name “Structuring Sentences” and the Walden University and Writing Center logo. The video title “Common Error—Run-On Sentences” fades in.

The screen changes to the following slide:

Common Error #2: Run-Ons

Include more than one simple sentence joined together improperly.

Audio: Common error #2, and this is an error that I see quite a bit when working with students, is run-on sentences. So run-on sentences include more than one simple sentence joined together improperly. And so, that's the main key here is, mostly it’s all about punctuation.

 

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Example 1

I attended the conference last July I also was at the symposium in October.

  • Two complete sentences with no punctuation

Audio: So here's one example of a run-on sentence. "I attended the conference last July I also was at the symposium in October." So we have two complete sentences here: "I attended the conference last July" and "I was also at the symposium in October", but there's no punctuation between them.

 

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I attended the conference last July, I also was at the symposium in October.

  • Comma is insufficient to combine independent clauses (comma splice)

Audio: So some people may revise this by adding a comma: "I attended the conference last July” comma, “I also was at the symposium in October." However, a comma is really insufficient to combine two independent clauses. A comma is really just not strong enough to stand alone by itself to bring together two independent clauses. This is also an example we would call a comma splice if that's something you ever hear.

 

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Revision Examples:

  • I attended the conference last July. I also was at the symposium in October.
  • I attended the conference last July; I also was at the symposium in October.
  • I attended the conference last July, and I also was at the symposium in October.

Audio: So options that you have for this to revise, to make this correct, would be to adjust the punctuation or possibly add a word. And so I have the three examples here of ways to revise this run-on sentence. So the first example is to just add a period between the two of them. You have two independent clauses they can be their own independent sentences. Another option is to add a semicolon between them. And then the third option is to do that comma and coordinating conjunction. So comma “and”, in this case, so the comma kind of needs to work along with one of those coordinating conjunction to really be strong enough to connect those two independent clauses.

 

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Many run-on sentences can easily be revised to form two simple sentences or a complex sentence.

Audio: So many run-on sentences can pretty easily be revised, either into two to simple sentences or two a complex or compound sentence.

 

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Example 2

Employee morale has a big impact on productivity, because job satisfaction plays an important role in turnover, managers should value the employees’ emotional needs.

  • Unclear mixture of complex and simple sentence.

Audio: Here's an example: "Employee morale has a big impact on productivity, because job satisfaction plays an important role in turnover, managers should evaluate the employee's emotional needs."

So here we have an independent clause, a dependent clause, and independent clause all connected by commas. And this just-- it's kind of unclear mixture. So we're going to need to adjust the punctuation here.

 

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Revision Examples:

  • Employee morale has a big impact on productivity because job satisfaction plays an important role in turnover. Managers should value the employees’ emotional needs.
  • Employee morale has a big impact on productivity; because job satisfaction plays an important role in turnover, managers should value the employees’ emotional needs.
  • Employee morale has a big impact on productivity, and job satisfaction plays an important role in turnover, so managers should value the employees’ emotional needs.

Audio: I have a few examples in the revision examples box. The first one is to include a period. So we have our independent clause and dependent clause, and because the independent clause comes first, we don't need a comma there, and then period and then the rest of the sentence. If you notice when you read the sentence, the initial example sentence, it's kind of unclear whether the "because" clause should be connected to the first independent clause or the ending independent clause. And so, this is where, as a writer, you get to make that decision and show the reader where the ideas are connected.

So for example, in number 2, "Employee morale has a big impact on productivity” semicolon (;), so kind of a pause in the idea, “because job satisfaction plays an important role in turnover, managers should value the employees’ emotional needs."

And then the third example is to use those coordinating conjunctions to show how these ideas are connected: "Employee morale has a big impact on productivity, and job satisfaction place an important role in turnover, so managers should value the employees’ emotional needs." So you can really make those decisions about the punctuation and how you want to connect sentences in order to really communicate the specific idea that you're trying to communicate. Whereas, if you use incorrect punctuation, it can actually cause a lot of clarity issues within sentences.

 

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Walden University Writing Center
Questions? E-mail writingsupport@waldenu.edu.