What Are Fused Sentences?

fused sentence
A fused sentence is like a fender-bender caused by one car (or sentence) traveling too close to another. (Christof R Schmidt/Getty Images)

A fused sentence is a sentence in which two independent clauses are run together (or "fused") without an appropriate conjunction or mark of punctuation between them.

In prescriptive grammar, fused sentences (also known as run-on sentences) are generally treated as errors.

 

Examples and Observations

  • The barn was very large it smelled of hay and horses.
  • You can only be young once you can be immature forever.
  • The boys were playing with their trucks in the mud I watched them from the window in my bedroom.
  • Some of the workers would leave their sacks at the store to be picked up the following morning a few had to take them home for repairs
  • "...I hate people that have always their poor story to tell everybody has their own troubles that poor Nancy Blake died a month ago of acute pneumonia well I didn't know her so well as all that she was Foley's friend more than mine.."
  • Recognizing Fused Sentences
    - "Fused sentences are difficult for their writers to identify because the ideas are usually closely related and most writers are not in the habit of examining their sentences for subjects and verbs." 
  • Correcting Fused Sentences
    "Adding a period between the clauses is one way to correct a run-on sentence... Other options are to add a comma and a coordinating conjunction (and, but, for, or, nor, so, yet) between the clauses, to add a semicolon, or to add a semicolon with a conjunctive adverb, such as therefore or however."
  • Run-Ons and Comma Splices
    "The distinction between a run-on sentence and a comma splice isn't usually noteworthy. So most writers class the two problems together as run-on sentences.
  • The Deliberate Use of Fused Sentences
    "The deliberate use of the run-on sentence can sometimes achieve special effects in informal contexts and in representations of colloquial speech. Writers should take care, however, when attempting to use run-on sentences in this way in formal contexts. These uses may easily be interpreted as mistakes or silliness."

    Also Known As

    run-on sentence, run-together sentence

    Sources

    James Joyce, Ulysses, 1922

    Donna Gorrell, A Writer's Handbook from A to Z. Allyn and Bacon, 1997

    Gerald Alred, et al., Handbook of Technical Writing. Bedford, 2006

    The American Heritage Guide to Contemporary Usage and Style. Houghton Mifflin, 2005