How Can I Fix a Run-On Sentence?

A run-on sentence or comma splice can really negatively impact your writing.  This is when you wrongly combine two sentences that should be seperate, with two independent clauses running together without the proper punctuation separating them.  This will look bad on your essays, and is a very common grammatical mistake.  How can you fix them?

There are a number of different methods to fixing a run-on sentence or comma splice, and the one that works best for you will depend on which final sentence eventually sounds the best in the middle of your writing.  You can use any of these methods on any sentence, but some will sound a little smoother in certain situations than others.  Figuring out the best one to use is a combination of experience and trial-and-error.

Run-On Sentence Fix 1: The Semicolon

If your two ideas are closely related, or if you use a transitional word like “similarly” or “meanwhile”, then you can use a semicolon to split up the two ideas.

Incorrect: R2-D2 bravely charged into action however, C-3P0 hid behind a wall.
Correct: R2-D2 bravely charged into actionhowever, C-3P0 hid behind a wall.

Incorrect: Deadpool is insane he does many crazy things that somehow end up working.
Correct: Deadpool is insane; he does many crazy things that somehow end up working.

Run-On Sentence Fix 2: Add a Subordinating Conjunction

Run-on sentences and comma splices are bad because they take two independent clauses and jam them together.  However, if you turn one of those clauses into a dependent clause, then you’re in the clear.  You do this by adding a subordinating conjunction like although or because.  This is my favorite method for clearing up comma splices because it often sounds less stilted than separating things into multiple sentences.

Incorrect: Pixar released a new movie, I went straight to the theater.
Correct: Because Pixar released a new movie, I went straight to the theater.

Incorrect: I couldn’t stop laughing, the Minions kept falling over.
Correct: I couldn’t stop laughing when the Minions kept falling over.

Remember to watch your commas–if you’re correcting a comma splice, you usually will replace the comma with one of your subordinating conjunctions.

Run-On Sentence Fix 3: Conjunctions and Commas

You can’t just tie two ideas together with a comma; that’s called a comma splice.  However, if you use a coordinating conjunction to combine the two, you can turn your run-on into a complex sentence.

Incorrect: Dory is forgetful she is also very loyal.
Correct: Dory is forgetful, but she is also very loyal.

Incorrect: Judy is a rookie cop Nick is a wise-talking fox.
Correct: Judy is a rookie cop, and Nick is a wise-talking fox.

Your coordinating conjunctions are and, but, or, nor, so, for and yet.  Any will do, though obviously not all work in all sentences.

Run-On Sentence Fix 4: Split into Two Sentences

Sometimes, all you need to do to fix a run-on sentence is to put a period, question mark or exclamation point between your two clauses.  You’ve combined two sentences, so all you need to do is un-combine them.

Incorrect: Captain America led one team Iron Man led the other.
Correct: Captain America led one team Iron Man led the other.

Incorrect: Superman was born on Krypton Batman is just a regular human being.
Correct: Superman was born on Krypton.  Batman is just a regular human being.

Don’t forget to capitalize your new second sentence!

Run-On Sentence Fix 5: Participles

The least common fix I use is changing one clause so that it begins with an “-ing”participle, and then attaching it back to the remaining independent clause.

Incorrect: Shere Khan chased Mowgli into a tree, he broke the tree branch and fell into the fire.
Correct: Shere Khan chased Mwogli into a tree, breaking the tree branch and falling into the fire.

With these techniques, you can fix any comma splice or run-on sentence you come across.

Here at Wordsmith Essays, our team of editors is more than happy to take a look at your essay and help you get rid of the run-on sentences and other tricky grammatical problems.  With around-the-clock service, we can help you out with whatever you need.  Stop by our order page today!


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