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How to avoid run-on sentences.


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One problem that a lot of people have in English (myself included) is not knowing when a sentence should simply end. For instance, let's look at the following sentence; it's a run-on sentence:

I love to play baseball with Billy every day after school but sometimes we play football instead out back in the yard next to Mr. Jake's house and then afterward we'll go inside for snacks and then it's time for me to go home.

There are a few things wrong with the above sentence that make it a run-on sentence:

1. The overuse of the word 'and'.

2. Lack of punctuation.

3. Seperate thoughts molded together as one sentence.

However, if you fix those problems, not only do you get a complete sentence but you get two of them! (bonus points if you can tell me if the sentence before this is a run-on or not.)

Here is one way how the sentences would probably look:

I love to play baseball with Billy every day after school. Sometimes we play football in the yard next to Mr. Jake's house instead. Then, afterward, we'll go inside for snacks!It's time for me to go home after all that.

Don't worry and keep practicing!

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Knowing when to end a sentence can indeed prove problematic to some English learners. One tip that a teacher shared is to read the sentence aloud. If you find yourself losing breath reading the whole sentence, then you are probably looking at a run-on sentence. Although the tip doesn't have a scientific basis, I still find it a useful tip.

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I was once guilty of making this mistake a lot, but I decided to try and structure my sentences more properly. After a while, I figured out that I was just not putting in enough punctuations so my sentences which made them too long and thus a bit more difficult to follow and understand. I'm sure my method still isn't perfect but I think it's definitely a huge improvement.

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I agree with reading the sentence out loud to detect run-ons. Being in a fast world and everything needing to be 'efficient', whenever I compose a sentence, I always ask myself if there is a shorter or more concise way of writing what I have to say. That way, when all sentences are short, you have less chance of a run-on sentence forming. Hope this helps.

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I also have a problem with run-on sentences.  Sometimes there are too many ideas that are coming out of my head, and I have to write them down in order not to forget them.  There are times when some of my ideas come out perfectly fine, but there are a few others which I sometimes write as run-ons when expressing them in sentence form.  The only thing worse than run-ons is an incomplete sentence.

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  • 10 months later...
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That's why I try to avoid using "and" at all costs unless I intend to enumerate several ideas or items. A paragraph sounds too awkward with too many "ands." The use of a semicolon (;) helps add variety to your sentences too.

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