Correcting a Run-on Sentence With a Period or Semicolon

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Nordquist, Richard. "Correcting a Run-on Sentence With a Period or Semicolon." ThoughtCo, Apr. 4, 2017, thoughtco.com/correcting-run-on-sentence-period-semicolon-1690960. Nordquist, Richard. (2017, April 4). Correcting a Run-on Sentence With a Period or Semicolon. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/correcting-run-on-sentence-period-semicolon-1690960 Nordquist, Richard. "Correcting a Run-on Sentence With a Period or Semicolon." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/correcting-run-on-sentence-period-semicolon-1690960 (accessed September 25, 2017).
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The simplest way to correct a run-on sentence (also known as a fused sentence) is with a mark of punctuation—a period or semicolon.

Correcting a Run-on Sentence With a Period

To make two separate sentences out of a run-on, put a period at the end of the first main clause and begin the second main clause with a capital letter:

Run-on Sentence
Merdine is a skilled carpenter she single-handedly built a two-story log cabin.

Corrected
Merdine is a skilled carpenter . She single-handedly built a two-story log cabin.

Inserting a period at the end of the first main clause is often the best way to correct a long run-on sentence.

Correcting a Run-on Sentence With a Semicolon

Another way to separate two main clauses is with a semicolon:

Run-on Sentence
Merdine is a skilled carpenter she single-handedly built a two-story log cabin.

Corrected
Merdine is a skilled carpenter ; she single-handedly built a two-story log cabin.

Be careful not to overwork the semicolon. The mark is most often used between two main clauses that are closely related in meaning and grammatical form.

Adding a Conjunctive Adverb

Although a period or semicolon will correct a run-on sentence, a mark of punctuation alone won't explain how the second main clause relates to the first one. To make this relationship clear, you can follow the period or semicolon with a conjunctive adverb--that is, a transitional expression that introduces a main clause.

The common conjunctive adverbs show that you are continuing a thought (furthermore, moreover), offering a contrast (however, nonetheless, still), or showing a result (accordingly, consequently, then, therefore, thus). Unlike coordinating conjunctions, conjunctive adverbs don't join main clauses; however, they do guide your readers by linking ideas:

  • I loathed my job more than I loved the paycheck; consequently, I quit work and returned to college.
  • After three days of rain, I was tempted to abandon the hike. Nevertheless, on the fourth day I took bearings from my compass and set out due west toward Cedar Bay.

Remember that a conjunctive adverb between two main clauses should be preceded by a semicolon or period. It is usually followed by a comma.

This exercise will give you practice in applying the guidelines on page one of Correcting a Run-on Sentence With a Period or Semicolon. To view the exercise without ads, click on the printer icon near the top of this page.

Instructions:

Use either a period or a semicolon to correct each of the run-on sentences below.

  1. A jump rope is the ultimate aerobic exercise it provides a top-notch daily workout.
  2. My teacher never missed a day of school I think even the flu and the common cold were afraid of that lady.
  3. Experience is not what happens to you it is what you do with what happens to you.
  4. A low blood-sugar level signals hunger a higher one tells the brain that you don't need to eat.
  5. A lobotomy is a fairly simple operation however amateurs should not attempt it.
  6. Fifty years ago, parents were apt to have several children nowadays children are apt to have several parents.
  1. Humor is a rubber sword it allows you to make a point without drawing blood.
  2. Black magic is meant to harm or destroy white magic is intended to benefit an individual or the community.
  3. Carefully open the can of soup empty the contents of the can into a saucepan and stir gently.
  4. It's not enough to hear opportunity knock you must let him in, make friends, and work together with him.
  5. Boy bands should be exploded from a great height they're just pretty people singing music written by others.
  6. Happiness is the key to success if you love what you are doing, you will be successful.
  7. It is not the strongest of the species that survives nor the most intelligent that survives it is the one that is the most adaptable to change.
  8. Courage is doing what you're afraid to do there can be no courage unless you're scared.
  1. During a boat trip in 1862, Charles Dodgson began telling a story about an adventure in a world full of peculiar creatures the place was called Wonderland.

 

Answers

 

  1. A jump rope is the ultimate aerobic exercise. It [or ; it] provides a top-notch daily workout.
  2. My teacher never missed a day of school. I [or ; I] think even the flu and the common cold were afraid of that lady.
  3. Experience is not what happens to you. It [or ; it] is what you do with what happens to you.
  4. A low blood-sugar level signals hunger. A [or ; A] higher one tells the brain that you don't need to eat.
  5. A lobotomy is a fairly simple operation. However, [or ; however,] amateurs should not attempt it.
  6. Fifty years ago, parents were apt to have several children. Nowadays [or ; nowadays] children are apt to have several parents.
  7. Humor is a rubber sword. It [or ; it] allows you to make a point without drawing blood.
  8. Black magic is meant to harm or destroy. White [or ; white] magic is intended to benefit an individual or the community.
  9. Carefully open the can of soup. Empty [or ; empty] the contents of the can into a saucepan and stir gently.
  10. It's not enough to hear opportunity knock. You [or ; you] must let him in, make friends, and work together with him.
  11. Boy bands should be exploded from a great height. They're [or ; they're] just pretty people singing music written by others.
  12. Happiness is the key to success. If [or ; if] you love what you are doing, you will be successful.
  13. It is not the strongest of the species that survives nor the most intelligent that survives. It [or ; it] is the one that is the most adaptable to change.
  14. Courage is doing what you're afraid to do. There [or ; there] can be no courage unless you're scared.
  15. During a boat trip in 1862, Charles Dodgson began telling a story about an adventure in a world full of peculiar creatures. The [or ; the] place was called Wonderland.

For additional practice, see Correcting Run-on Sentences Through Coordination and Subordination.

Format
mla apa chicago
Your Citation
Nordquist, Richard. "Correcting a Run-on Sentence With a Period or Semicolon." ThoughtCo, Apr. 4, 2017, thoughtco.com/correcting-run-on-sentence-period-semicolon-1690960. Nordquist, Richard. (2017, April 4). Correcting a Run-on Sentence With a Period or Semicolon. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/correcting-run-on-sentence-period-semicolon-1690960 Nordquist, Richard. "Correcting a Run-on Sentence With a Period or Semicolon." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/correcting-run-on-sentence-period-semicolon-1690960 (accessed September 25, 2017).