Four Ways To Correct Runon Sentences

1. Use a period to separate the clauses into two sentences.

Correct: It rained heavily this morning. The freeways and surface streets flooded. This is the simplest way to correct run-ons.

However, run-on sentences often occur because a relationship of some kind exists between the two independent clauses. The following choices make those relationships more clear.

2. Use a comma and a coordinating conjunction (for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so).

Correct: It rained heavily this morning, and the surface streets and the freeways and flooded. This correction shows that the flooding happened at the same time as the rain.

3. Use a subordinate conjunction to make one of the clauses subordinate to the other, or restructure the sentence in another way.

Correct: Because it rained heavily this morning, the freeways and surface streets flooded. This correction shows the cause and effect relationship even more clearly. The freeways and streets flooded because of the rain.

4. Use a semicolon to separate the two independent clauses. A colon or a dash might also be appropriate depending on the emphasis desired. (See rules for using colons and dashes.) The semicolon can be used alone, or it can be used with a transitional expression.

Correct: It rained heavily this morning; the freeways and surface streets flooded.

The semicolon is a formal mark that shows that the second independent clause is importantly related to the first. The relationship is so strongly implied that no further explanation is required.

Correct: It rained heavily this morning; consequently, the surface streets and the freeways flooded.

Consequently is a conjunctive adverb that is used as a transitional expression to show the precise relationship between two independent clauses. Though not often used today, you will see this construction in writing from other time periods. Other transitional expressions include also, as a result, finally, for example, however, in fact, meanwhile, of course, on the other hand, therefore, etc.

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