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SQUEEKY2's avatar

In very simple terms could someone explain what a run on sentence is, and how to avoid it?

Asked by SQUEEKY2 (5648 points ) 2 months ago

I have had questions pulled by the mod gods, for lot’s of reasons but one is a run on sentence.
So to tow the line in their quest for excellence, could someone tell me exactly what a run on sentence is , and why it’s so bad?
Also how not to do one.

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29 Answers

jca's avatar

If I type out my thoughts (like I do on Fluther), I will go back and re-read my sentences. If there are sentences that are 3 lines long or more, I will look carefully. In places where I have a comma, an “and” or a break of some sort, I will consider whether a period and new sentence may be better.

For example:

I am going to the hairdresser to get my hair done, going home to rest and then going to the party, after stopping to pick up some dessert for the hostess, who doesn’t necessarily want dessert but that’s what I like to bring in case none of the other food is good.

I’ll change that to “I’m going to the hairdresser to get my hair done and then going home. I’m going to pick up some dessert and then go to the party. The hostess doesn’t necessarily want me to bring anything, but that’s what I do. That way I know if there’s nothing else, I will have a good dessert.”

I know it’s not a technical explanation, but I hope it helps.

gailcalled's avatar

Here’s an answer you wrote recently that I will edit. (Plurals add “s” and should never have an apostrophe; “lot’s” should be “lots.” “Run-on” requires the hyphen to differentiate it from “the boys run on the ice.” Five gold stars for using “it’s” correctly. That makes you a rare jelly here.

#`1:I would like to think so, I couldn’t cheat on Mrs Squeeky and she has a way of finding out everything and losing her would be the worst thing, I would turn it around and tell Mrs Squeeky that this hot babe was putting the moves on me, then sit back and watch Mrs Squeeky rip her apart.

#2: Edited.

I would like to think so. (New sentence) I couldn’t cheat on Mrs Squeeky since she has a way of finding out everything and losing her would be the worst thing. (New sentence) I would turn it around and tell Mrs Squeeky that this hot babe was putting the moves on me, then sit back and watch Mrs Squeeky rip her apart.

A sentence is a complete thought. “I would like to think so.” is a perfect example.

These rules are in place to keep the reader focussed on content and not distracted by sloppy punctuation. You don’t want your reader to have to stop and say,”What does mean?”

ucme's avatar

A run on sentence offers no possiblity of parole.

Jonesn4burgers's avatar

Say it out loud. If you have to take a breath, reword it to be two sentences.

gailcalled's avatar

Run-on sentence example.

Say it out loud, if you have to take a breath, reword it to be two sentences.”

Pachy's avatar

A run-on sentence is one that crams in too many thoughts and/or contains too little punctuation (like commas) and therefore forces the reader to work unnecessarily hard to understand what you’re trying to express, which can be very frustrating to him or her, especially considering how difficult it is to focus a reader’s attention in this cacophonous, media-overloaded world.

It’s better to separate your thoughts into several, impactful sentences like this:

A run-on sentence is one that crams in too many thoughts and/or contains too little punctuation (like commas). This forces the reader to work unnecessarily hard to understand what you’re trying to express. In this cacophonous, media-overloaded world, the less difficult you make it for the reader to get what you’re saying, the better.

zenvelo's avatar

We prefer you “toe the line,” meaning to step up to a line and not over it. If you “tow the line” it means you are pulling it away, as on a tow truck.

A run on sentence is one that has more than one complete thought.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

Uh @zenvelo That is exactly what I meant, I am a truck driver. :)

CWOTUS's avatar

A run-on sentence is one that doesn’t have a proper ending where it should so it goes on indefinitely long and doesn’t reach a termination to end that thought, and this is what makes readers tire of reading it – or past it – because they can’t seem to duplicate the thought that you had when you wrote it and they can’t come to a logical conclusion; it’s just no way to write, without using “simple sentences” most frequently that have simple subjects and verbs to demonstrate comprehensible and logical thought.

Like that.

Dutchess_III's avatar

My head hurts, it does.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

I’m terrible about writing very long, drawn out sentences that convey the idea but go on forever because I simply can’t stand looking at short, simple sentences that only contain a few words, seem overly simple and are painful for me to look at for whatever reason.

Coloma's avatar

^^^ I tend to run on at times too. It is the nature of the beast of verbosity. haha

SQUEEKY2's avatar

@Coloma , yeah but are you getting questions pulled for doing it.

Coloma's avatar

@SQUEEKY2 No, I haven’t had a Q. get kicked back to edit in a long time.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

I’m the Ace of the run-on sentence. I go with Gail, but I don’t often follow the advice she gives above on Fluther because of the way I write. I get all the thoughts down first, punch it in, then go back and break the long ones up into readable sentences to achieve exactly what she what she describes. But by that time I’m usually out of editing time, so I just let it go in looking like a first draft.

I’ve thought about working off a word doc first, then copypasta it to the Fluther text box, but that seems a bit obsessive and insecure, don’t you think? My first write is always full of run-on sentences. I’m afraid of losing an idea and they come in fast.

Editing or crafting the sentences and paragraphs takes much longer than writing—and I enjoy that part just as much as the actual writing. I must admit, though, my first drafts are much better after dealing with this short editing time over the last five years.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I love your postings @Espiritus_Corvus. Often the first drafts are the most….fluid. The more one edits the more annal retentive they become.

Coloma's avatar

@Espiritus_Corvus Examples. Paying extra hard attention huh? haha
I am terrible, for being quite literate and literary when my thoughts launch I am the queen of verbosity.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

@Dutchess_III so why are they always bitching about my run on sentences, they WANT me to become more annal retentive?

gailcalled's avatar

Hits head with mallet.

Coloma's avatar

No!
Anal retentive is BAD, bad, bad, I say!
I’d much rather put up with slightly scattered, run on, than extreme anal. Lord, have a few prunes! haha

gailcalled's avatar

“Run-on” as a compound adjective must have the hyphen.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

@Dutchess_III @gailcalled @SQUEEKY2 @Coloma

anal retentive? You want anal retentive? I’ll show you anal rentive. In 2,250 responses over the last five years, I’ve accrued 375 perfecto fishes. That’s anal retentive. That’s a guy that’s scared of his own shit. That’s one inconfident (unconfident? diffident? see what I mean?) writer.

gailcalled's avatar

^^ Incontinent? You are still in North America?)

jca's avatar

As I eat my Continental Breakfast.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@SQUEEKY2 I was just speaking in general, like, writing anything~a long comment, or commenting on fb. When you compose a question here, yes, you have to be anal retentive.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

How do you tell how many perfecto-fish awards you have?

Dutchess_III's avatar

Look in your account via clicking on your avatar. There is a tab there that tells you what awards you gotten. But I don’t see where it tells you how many times, so GQ @ARE_you_kidding_me.

gailcalled's avatar

Mouse over each individual award and the number you have received will appear.

@ARE_you_kidding_me: You have 51 perfecto fish awards.
@Dutchess_III: You have 44.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Ah. Thank you. LOL! You have 105!

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