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Run-Together Sentences and Sentence Joining

Run-together Sentences and Sentence Joining

Run-together Sentences occur when you punctuate two or more sentences as if they were one sentence. When you put a comma between them, there is still an error because commas do not grammatically separate two complete sentences. Why do run-together sentences occur? Because people think that two closely related ideas must be the same sentence.

Ex. I rebelled against my mother, my family got very angry with me.

This is a run-together sentence because there are two grammatically complete ideas here, with two subjects and two verbs. This is a also sometimes called a comma-splice error.

Ex. I rebelled against my mother, my family got very angry with me.

Here is a run-together sentence (sometimes called a run-on sentence) that does not have a comma:

Ex: I did not join the gang I was afraid of getting into trouble in school.

Ways to correct run-together sentences.

1. Put a period between the sentences and capitalize the first letter of the second sentence.

I rebelled against my mother. My family got very angry with me.

2. Put a semi-colon between the two sentences. The first letter of the second sentence is always lower case after a semi-colon.

I rebelled against my mother; my family got very angry with me.

3. The third and the best way to correct run-together sentences is to use a logical joining word in between them. Why is it the best way? It is the best way because you are then helping the readers by showing them what you think the relationship between the sentences is. You are telling the readers what you mean rather than leaving it up to them to supply the relationship. It is also the best because you don't end up with a lot of short and choppy sentences.

There are two kinds of logical joining words that will correct run-together sentences.

Coordinating conjunctions: There are only seven coordinating conjunctions. The easiest way to remember them is with the silly word that is made up of the first letter of each, FANBOYS.

FOR shows a cause relationship.

AND shows an addition relationship.

NOR shows the addition of negatives.

BUT shows a contrast relationship.

OR shows an alternative relationship.

YET shows a contrast relationship.

SO shows a result relationship.

Punctuate sentences joined by coordinating conjunctions with a comma before the coordinating conjunction.

I rebelled against my mother, and my family got very angry with me.

It is acceptable to leave out the commas if the sentences you are joining are short. It is also acceptable to separate the two sentences and begin the second with the coordinating conjunction. Do this only rarely--for effect.

Subordinating Conjunctions

Time: As Before After When Whenever As soon as Since Until As long as By the time While

Contrast: Although Though Even though Even if Whereas

Condition: If Unless

Cause/Effect Because Since As So that

Other common subordinators: Whether Wherever As if As though The next time

Subordinating conjunctions can join two sentences at the beginning of the ideas: When I rebelled against my mother, my family got very angry with me.

Put a comma after the first idea when the subordinating conjunction joins two ideas at the beginning.

Or subordinating conjunctions can join two sentences between the two ideas: I rebelled against my mother even though my family got very angry with me.

There is no comma if the subordinating conjunction joins between the two ideas.

**The following words are subordinators but they do not join sentences in the same way. If you find these words between sentences, you have not found a run-together sentence. Who Which Where That

The following words are not conjunctions and do not join sentences. They are also over-used. Also As a result Hence On the other hand Besides However Otherwise Consequently In addition Similarly Finally Moreover Then For example Nevertheless Therefore Furthermore Next Thus

We often have to tell students to stop using them so often in their writing. Consider the following paragraph.

I have two fathers; however, they are very different. My stepfather has always had a steady job. Thus he is always able to pay the bills and buy the groceries. On the other hand, my father doesn’t care for steady jobs. He is a singer; moreover, he only works three to four nights a week in clubs. Consequently, he only sends us ten dollars a month. However, he only does this when he is out of state. Discipline is another difference between my two dads. For example, my stepfather believes that children should always obey their parents. On the other hand, my father has very different views; therefore, he always encourages my brother and me to rebel against the rules.

The paragraph sounds silly because the sentences are so short and choppy. Transition words should only be used very rarely--when there is a big transition between ideas. Do not use them to join sentences.

Exercise #1 Find the following run-together sentences. You will need to find them by underlining subjects and verbs. When you find a new subject and verb, if no subordinator or coordinator has been used, that indicates that a new sentence is beginning. Put a little mark or star in between the sentences that are run-togethers. The first two are done for you.

It all started on a Friday morning, *my parents went to L.A. on a business trip *I didn't go to school because I was sick. I had to take all of my brothers and sisters to school it took a long time, all five of us are at five different schools. Two hours passed, I was home listening to the radio. I received a call from one of my sisters, the 8th grader. She told me that her friends had decided to take her to the mall, they left her and another friend there she wanted me to pick her up. I told her that I only had permission to use the car to drive them to school I also had never driven on the freeway alone before. She begged me to come and get her anyway, dad would kill her when he heard about it. I got ready, I went to pick up my two close friends, I was afraid to go by myself. We finally found her and her friend we were driving happily on our way back home, all of a sudden I heard my friend tell me to look out. I hit the car in front of me, I had run a stop sign. My sister and I both got in a lot of trouble, I had taken the car without permission she had skipped school, I don't think that taking that risk was worth it.

Exercise #2 Now that you have found all of the run-together sentences in exercise #1, you will notice that if you correct them all using periods or semi-colons that you have a lot of short and choppy sentences. The sentences are grouped here for you. Use a subordinating and a coordinating conjunction to join as indicated. **Use and only if another coordinating conjunction will not work. 1. It all started on a Friday morning ______ my parents went to L.A. on a business trip. (Subordinating)

2. My parents went to L.A. on a business trip _I didn't go to school because I was sick. (Coordinating)

3. I had to take all of my brothers and sisters to school it took a long time. (Coordinating)

4. It took a long time all five of us are at five different schools. (Subordinating)

5. two hours passed, I was home listening to the radio ____ I received a call from one of my sisters, the 8th grader. ( 2 Subordinating)

6. She told me that her friends had decided to take her to the mall they left her and another friend there. (Coordinating)

7. They left her and another friend there she wanted me to pick her up. (Coordinating)

8. I told her I only had permission to use the car to drive them to school I also had never driven on the freeway alone before. (Coordinating)

9. She begged me to come and get her anyway dad would kill her when he heard about it. (Subordinating)

10. I got ready, I went to pick up my two close friends I was afraid to go by myself. (2 subordinating)

11. we finally found her and her friend, we were driving happily on our way back home all of a sudden I heard my friend tell me to look out. (2 Subordinating)

12. I hit the car in front of me I had run a stop sign. (Subordinating)

13. My sister and I both got in a lot of trouble I had taken the car without permission. (Subordinating)

14. I had taken the car without permission she had skipped school. (Subordinating)

Run-together sentences and sentence joining

Exercise #3

Read the following paragraph. Find all the run-together sentences. Then, correct the choppiness by using coordinating and subordinating conjunctions.

I was 10 years old, I moved to the U.S. from Taiwan. I arrived in the United States our plane first stopped in New York. The cars, the buildings, and the people looked very different, my family and I felt like we just didn't belong. We had to stay in New York for one night our plane was delayed because of a problem. My family and I went out into the busy streets of New York, we had to find something to eat, we felt alienated, no one in my family knew how to speak English we felt lost, different and strange. It felt like I had died and gone to hell. The next day we went to San Jose my aunt lived there, we at least knew her family. I started school in San Jose I felt left out no one spoke my language no one wanted to be my friend. I didn't want to go back, I had no choice, my dad made me go. At school kids made fun of me, I didn't speak English well I was always getting into fights and trouble. Dr. Millbard says that people make other feel left out because they look different and act different, she was right in my case, I was alienated because of my race and because of my language. She also said that the effect is humiliation, she was right about that too. I will never forget how humiliated I felt, I was treated like an alien from another planet, I should have been treated like a new friend.

Fragments

Sentence Fragments are groups of words that are punctuated like sentences, but are not really complete sentences. They are errors that need to be fixed.

There are two kinds of sentence fragments:

1. A group of words that is missing either a subject and/or a verb is called a phrase:

Examples of sentence fragments that are phrases:

A. He apologized over and over. Hoping for a second chance. (no subject and an "-ing" verb can't be a subject by itself.

B. It was then that my father met my mother. A young quiet woman with a much more conservative family. (no verb)

2. A group of words that is introduced by a subordinator with only one idea following: (The list of subordinators follows.) Examples of sentence fragments that are subordinator fragments:

A. Because the cost of living is so high. Many people have to work hard to survive.

B. Families need two incomes to survive. Which makes it very hard for parents to spend necessary time with their children.

Subordinators

After By the time That Where Although Even though Unless Which As If Until While Because Since When Who Before So that Whether

Exercise

Find and underline the fragments in the following exercise and identify whether they are phrases or subordinator fragments:

Born in 1944, in San Francisco. The son of Mexican-American, Spanish-speaking parents. Richard Rodriguez first learned English in grade school. He received a B. A. in English from Stanford University. And a Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley. He writes about his regret at losing his Latino heritage. Because he was assimilated into the English-speaking world of public education. Although he disapproves of bilingual education. Which he feels causes reverse discrimination. Jesse Jackson, was born in South Carolina in 1941. He received a B.A. in sociology from North Carolina State University. And later became a Baptist minister. Following his studies at the Chicago Theological Seminary. Jackson believes in bilingual education. Since he feels that bilingual programs have been tested and proven. He feels that this is the only way to help immigrant children. Who suffer when they are forced to sit in confusing and unfriendly classrooms. Where they not only do not understand what is being said. But also are ignored and forgotten. As the regular work of the classroom goes on without them.

Exercise

Now correct the sentences in the exercise by joining them to the sentences that they are logically connected to. Remember to change punctuation and capitalization.

Born in 1944, in San Francisco. The son of Mexican-American, Spanish-speaking parents. Richard Rodriguez first learned English in grade school. He received a B. A. in English from Stanford University. And a Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley. He writes about his regret at losing his Latino heritage. Because he was assimilated into the English-speaking world of public education. Although he disapproves of bilingual education. Which he feels causes reverse discrimination.

Jesse Jackson, was born in South Carolina in 1941. He received a B.A. in sociology from North Carolina State University. And later became a Baptist minister. Following his studies at the Chicago Theological Seminary. Jackson believes in bilingual education. Since he feels that bilingual programs have been tested and proven. He feels that this is the only way to help immigrant children. Who suffer when they are forced to sit in confusing and unfriendly classrooms. Where they not only do not understand what is being said. But also are ignored and forgotten. As the regular work of the classroom goes on without them.

 Updated Tuesday, June 20, 2006 at 10:01:43 AM by Marilyn Patton - pattonmarilyn@fhda.edu
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