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Grammar resource: Run-ons

“If two independent clauses are not separated by the correct punctuation, you have a run-on sentence”

Susan J Behrens, Grammar: A Pocket Guide

What is a run on?

Run-on sentences happen if you put together two separate ideas without punctuation or a conjunction.

For example: 
The researchers compared the samples the difference was not statistically significant.

This has two subject-verb combinations (researchers compared and difference was) but they are not connected with either punctuation (a semi-colon) or a conjunction (for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so etc). The two sentences are therefore a run-on. Simply add in the necessary punctuation/conjunction to put it right:

The researchers compared the samples and/but the difference was not statistically significant.

Or

The researchers compared the samples; the difference was not statistically significant.

More Examples

Sentence Repaired with a semi-colon Repaired with a conjunction
Magpies have been shown to possess awareness of self they removed a mark on their body when presented with a mirror. Magpies have been shown to possess awareness of self; they removed a mark on their body when presented with a mirror. Magpies have been shown to possess awareness of self because they removed a mark on their body when presented with a mirror.
There are numerous factors that influence the way a wound heals these will be considered. There are numerous factors that influence the way a wound heals; these will be considered. There are numerous factors that influence the way a wound heals and these will be considered.
Legal precedence was set in Smith v Jones the case illustrated the specific issue of... Legal precedence was set in Smith v Jones; the case illustrated the specific issue of... Legal precedence was set in Smith v Jones as the case illustrated the specific issue of...

 

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