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Run-on sentences

A run-on sentence, sometimes called a "fused sentence", has at least two parts, either one of which can stand independently by itself, but the two parts have been improperly connected. When only a comma connects two independent clauses, they constitute a run-on sentence that is called a comma-splice:

My wife gets on with everybody, she's a very understanding person.

When you use a comma to connect two independent clauses, it must be accompanied by a conjunction (and, but, for, nor, yet, so, as, because). To correct the above you may use:

My wife gets on with everybody because she's a very understanding person.


My wife gets on with everybody, as she's a very understanding person.

Alternatively, use different punctuation such as the full stop to separate the clauses:

My wife gets on with everybody. She's a very understanding person.

or the semicolon, although these should not be overused:

My wife gets on with everybody; she's a very understanding person.

The length of a sentence has nothing to do with whether a sentence is a run-on or not; being a run-on is a structural flaw that can plague even very short sentences such as the one given above. An extremely long sentence, on the other hand, can be otherwise structurally sound, if a little unwieldy to read!

Knowing that millions of people around the world would be watching in person and on television and expecting great things from him – at least one more gold medal for America, if not another world record – during this, his fourth and surely his last appearance in the World Olympics, and realizing that his legs could no longer carry him down the runway with the same blazing speed and confidence in making a huge, eye-popping leap that they were capable of a few years ago when he set world records in the 100-meter dash and in the 400-meter relay and won a silver medal in the long jump, the renowned sprinter and track-and-field personality Carl Lewis, who had known pressure from fans and media before but never, even as a professional runner, this kind of pressure, made only a few appearances in races during the few months before the Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia, partly because he was afraid of raising expectations even higher and he did not want to be distracted by interviews and adoring fans who would follow him into stores and restaurants demanding autographs and photo-opportunities, but mostly because he wanted to conserve his energies and concentrate, like a martial arts expert, on the job at hand: winning his favorite competition, the long jump, and bringing home another Gold Medal for the United States, the most fitting conclusion to his brilliant career in track and field.