If a sentence or independent clause has a subject and a verb and makes sense all on its own, then what’s a run-on sentence? Will using one speed me along on my quest to finish my writing piece? No (since no one will be able to understand the message you’re trying to convey)!
A run-on sentence happens when two independent clauses (or sentences) are joined without the use of punctuation such as a comma or semicolon. Though a mixture of complex and simple sentences is ideal in any writing, your sentences must be punctuated correctly to ensure comprehension by readers. This is especially key when content writing as you want your readers to fully understand how and why they should use your product.
Let’s take a look at the following run-on sentence:
The crowd went wild they cheered loudly.
This sentence has two independent clauses (the crowd went wild and they cheered loudly) that are shoved together without any punctuation signaling this fact to the reader. There are three things that you can do to eliminate this run-on problem:
1. Add a semicolon between the two clauses.
The crowd went wild; they cheered loudly.
2. Use a comma after the first clause and follow with a conjunction (and, but, or).
The crowd went wild, and they cheered loudly.
3. Place a period between the two clauses.
The crowd went wild. They cheered loudly.
A general rule of thumb is that there should usually be some kind of punctuation mark whenever you naturally pause when reading. Be cautious; however, as some people become “comma happy” and stick a comma EVERY TIME there’s uncertainty. Try using these quick tips and say, “SCRAM!” to those run-on sentences.