Run together sentences

Run-Together Sentences (RTS)


Contrary to popular belief, run-together sentences are not
simply sentences that are too long. Instead, run-together
sentences are the result of combining two or more complete sentences together without an acceptable
A complete sentence, also know as an independent
clause, contains a subject-verb unit; in the example
sentences below, subjects are underlined once and verbs
underlined twice so you can see the different independent clauses.
Acceptable joiners for connecting independent clauses include:
• Coordinators
• Subordinators
• Semi-colons
We’ll look at these acceptable joiners more closely in a moment, but first let’s take a
look at what CANNOT connect complete sentences.
RTS example:
Commas cannot connect two
His older sister hit him, the boy started to cry. Transition words, with or without a He took four ibuprofen, then his headache faded away.
comma, cannot connect two complete sentences—this can be another type of comma splice My teacher writes RTS in the margins of my essay I do
Since it is easy to confuse transition words with coordinators and subordinators, we’ve
included a chart on the next page to help you out.

even though, even if, other hand, instead, Cause
Effect/ Result
How to Fix Run-Together Sentences
Use a coordinator
One way to fix a run-together sentence is to insert a comma and a coordinator to join the two
independent clauses. For example:
Original RTS
Grammatically Correct Sentence
Her older sister hit him, the boy started His older sister hit him, so the boy started to
to cry.

When you use a coordinator to fix a run-together sentence, make sure that you choose one
that indicates the correct logical relationship between the two ideas you are connecting; the
chart on the previous page can help you figure this out.
Use a subordinator
Another way to fix a run-together sentence is to use a subordinator to join the two
independent clauses. For example:
Original RTS
Grammatically Correct Sentence
His headache faded away as soon as he
took four ibuprofen.
As soon as he took four ibuprofen, his
headache faded away.
As you can see from the examples above, subordinators don’t always need to be placed in the middle of sentence; they can also come at the beginning. When you do place the subordinator at the beginning of a sentence, you need to put a comma after the end of the first clause. As with coordinators, when you use a subordinator to fix a run-together sentence, you need to make sure that you choose one that indicates the correct logical relationship between the two ideas you are connecting. Use a semi-colon
A third way fix run-together sentences is by joining the two independent clauses with a semi-
Original RTS
Grammatically Correct Sentence
My teacher writes RTS in the margins of my essay; (however) I don’t know what she

You can pair a semi-colon with a transition word, but remember that transition words alone
cannot join sentences. If you do use a transition word, be sure that it is one that indicates the
correct logical relationship between the ideas you are connecting.
Split the RTS into two sentences
One final way to fix a run-together sentence is to spit it up into two independent clauses. For
Original RTS
Grammatically Correct Sentence
My teacher writes RTS in the margins of my essay. I don’t know what she means.
When you fix run-together sentences in this way, just be careful that you don’t end up with a series of short, choppy sentences. Exercises
Fix the following run-together sentences using one of the seven coordinators (FANBOYS:
for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so).
For example: I don’t usually watch reality TV∧ I do love a show called Project Runway. 1. At the beginning of the season there are fourteen aspiring fashion designers, in the end only three people get to show at Olympus Fashion Week in New York. 2. The supermodel Heidi Klum hosts, famous designers serve as guest judges. 3. The contestants must take the design challenges seriously every week the loser goes 4. Some of the contestants have huge egos, they are unnecessarily competitive. 5. I don’t have TiVo I am going to my friend’s house to watch the season finale.
B) Fix the following run-together sentences using a subordinator.
For example: ∧ Many students have to cover their own living expenses, they work full-time. 1. She needed a part-time job, books and tuition were expensive this year. 2. She would have preferred not to have to work retail, the only job she could find was at a 3. The customers were frequently demanding and rude, she liked her co-workers. 4. She had been working for a month, her employee discount kicked in. 5. She paid off her credit card bill, she was planning to buy a new pair of shoes. C) Fix the following run-together sentences using a semi-colon; you can also include an
appropriate transition word.
For example: As people get older they tend to get wiser; sometimes they also get fatter.
1. Orville was almost thirty-five his tummy had started to stick out.
2. His wife worried that his eating habits were unhealthy, she tried to encourage him to eat 3. Orville was not as concerned he would eat six cookies a meal without feeling guilty. 4. On the radio, Orville had heard that drinking green tea could help you lose weight he decided to stop drinking coffee that very day and put his coffee machine away. 5. Only he didn’t really stop drinking coffee, he just stopped making it at home and went to
D) The following sentences are taken from actual student essays. Fix the RTS errors using
an appropriate strategy; remember to think about the logical relationship between ideas when
choosing a strategy.
1. The legalization of prostitution would actually help reduce crime, the prostitute wouldn't
2. Police could stake out a street crime area instead of a brothel the effect would be safer streets and more efficient use of the police. 3. Not everybody is going to be so ambitious and work many will probably do nothing. 4. At one time people had responsibilities to their families and communities, now you only have to answer to yourself and no one else. 5. To some, divorce provides an easy out to their problems of getting along together, therefore they dissolve the marriage rather than work it out.
E) Now that you’ve had a chance to correct isolated sentences, try to find and fix the run-
together sentences in the following paragraph.
Sleep is a subject we should all know a lot about, we spend one third of our lives sleeping. Even though everyone sleeps, scientists have only recently begun to understand what goes on when we sleep. They used to believe that the body repairs itself while asleep, there is some truth to this but the body also does this while awake. The brain does not simply shut itself off at night, it goes through a complicated series of chemical changes. Scientists have begun to chart these changes, working with complex instruments that measure brain- wave patterns. They have found that we do not move smoothly from being awake to being asleep, we pass through a cycle of four sleep stages. At each stage blood pressure and pulse rate drop, the body temperature also goes down. In the second stage the number and length of brain waves go up, while the sleeper’s eyes begin to move rapidly back and forth behind their lids. Scientists call this activity rapid eye movements, or REMs, the activity that accompanies most of our dreaming. If a person is deprived of REM sleep, that person will soon become bad-tempered and irritable. A full night’s sleep is not a single, unbroken state but consists of four or five of these multi-stage sleep cycles.1 1 Altman, Pam and Doreen Deicke, Eds. Fog City Fundamentals, 4th ed. Pearson Custom Publishing: Boston. 1998 p. 19. Sill need to correctly format citation. F) One more time! Some of the sentences in the following paragraph are run-together; find
these sentences and fix them using the most appropriate strategy.
In 1867, a chef at a hotel in Saratoga Springs accidentally dropped some thinly sliced potatoes into hot cooking oil, instantly the world found a new delicacy: the potato chip. At the time, Saratoga Springs was America’s most fashionable resort, fads that started there usually found immediate success. Almost overnight, the potato chip became Saratoga’s hottest item. The wide, tree-lined avenues were filled with people eating potato chips, the huge veranda of the United States Hotel was no different; it was filled with chip-eaters too. Some of the richest, most powerful people in the world consumed them regularly, for instance, the Vanderbilts could often be seen daintily plucking chips from paper cups on their stroll back to their mansion. The elegant “Saratoga chips” remained the delicacy of the wealthy until 1925, when the first chip factory was constructed in Albany, New York. The potato chip was no longer the snack of only the rich and famous, it became a common household item. Of course potato chips have changed a great deal in the last hundred years, now they come in various textures and flavors, some even stacked in paper tubes. Still, the next time you grab a handful of greasy, flavor-dusted chips, you might pause to remember the noble origins of


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