Run-On Sentences & Fragments

WRITTEN June 18, 2015 Author: Rich Atkins

Mistakes in your writing can cost you dearly.  Recently I heard one of my clients say that when she gets a resume containing errors, it goes immediately in the “unacceptable” pile. Make sure your writing is correct by addressing the completeness of your sentences.

Run-on sentences contain two or more independent thoughts not separated by any punctuation.

Run-on (incorrect): The parts should be the same we can always have John check the serial numbers. (Two ideas, and no punctuation to separate them – easily fixable by adding a period after “same” and starting “we” with a capital letter.)

Fixing Run-on Sentences

RUN-ON: Edwin went home no one told the team leader that he was leaving.

  • Create two or more sentences.

Edwin went home. No one told the team leader that he was leaving.

  • Add a semicolon between the clauses.

Edwin went home; no one told the team leader that he was leaving.

  • Add a comma, then a conjunction after the first independent clause.

Edwin went home, and no one told the team leader that he was leaving.

  • Add a subordinating conjunction to one of the clauses.

A sentence fragment is an incomplete sentence, usually lacking either a subject or a verb.

    Fragment: The ringing telephone.

    Complete: The ringing telephone startled the customer.

    Fragment: Driving all night.

    Complete: Jim and Loretta stayed awake, driving all night.

Complete sentences express complete thoughts.

The policies on the desk… (incomplete)

The policies are on the desk. (complete)

To avoid run-on sentences, be sure any one sentence you write is correct and complete, ask yourself, “Is it understandable out of context?” (If it is, then it’s probably complete.)

Because of increased sales. (incomplete)

Because of increased sales, we will hire more salespeople. (complete)


This information is from the Effective Business Writing class. If you’re looking for ways to improve your communication skills, register for one of our public classes.  Click here for more information.

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