Sentence Structure and Avoiding Run-on Sentences
Depending on the number and type of clauses they contain, sentences are classified as simple, compound, complex, compound-complex.
1. Simple Sentences
A simple sentence contains only one independent clause.
Without dancing, life would not be fun.
A simple sentence can also contain compound elements (subject, verb, object). Evil enters like a needle and spreads like an oak. (compound verb)
2. Compound sentences
A compound sentence consists of two or more independent clauses with no subordinate clauses. They are joined with a comma and a coordinating conjunction (and, but, or, nor, so, for, yet) or with a semicolon. He wanted to join the group, but the other members wouldn’t let him. Most singers gain fame through hard work and dedication; Evita, however, found another means.
3. Complex sentences
A complex sentence is composed of one independent clause with one or more subordinate clauses.
The fur that warms a monarch once warmed a bear.
Home is the place where you slip in the tub and break your neck. Talent is what you possess.
Dig a well before you are thirsty.
Whoever gossips to you will gossip about you.
Juan can run faster than I can bicycle.
When he adopts a creed, a scientist commits suicide.
The receptionist knows [that] you are here.
in order that
Other words introducing subordinate clauses
The above is true in both Spanish and English (Hacker, 2009, 768-770).
Run-on sentences are a serious problem because they indicate that the writer does not understand basic sentence structure either in Spanish or English. Run-ons are independent clauses (a word group that can stand alone as a complete sentence) that have not been joined correctly.
There are two types of run-on sentences. When a writer puts no punctuation and no coordinating conjunction between independent clauses, the sentence is said to be fused. EX: Gestures are a means of communication for everyone they are essential for the hearing paired.
A more common run-on sentence is the comma splice—two independent clauses joined with a comma without a coordinating conjunction (and, so, but, for, yet, or, nor). EX: Gestures are a means of communication for everyone, they are essential for the hearing impaired.
In other comma splices, the comma is accompanied by a joining word that is not a coordinating conjunction. EX: Gestures are a means of communication for everyone, however they are essential for the hearing impaired.
There are four methods of fixing a run-on sentence:
1. Use a comma and coordinating conjunction:
EX: Gestures are a means of communication for everyone, but they are essential for the hearing impaired.
2. Use a semi-colon (if the clauses are related) or a colon or a dash to separate the independent clauses. EX: Gestures are a means of communication for everyone; they are essential for the hearing impaired.
Sometimes the semi-colon is accompanied by a transitional expression. EX: Gestures are a means of communication for everyone; however, they are essential for the hearing impaired. (Other common transitions: moreover, nevertheless, for example, in fact, etc.). If appropriate you may also use a colon or a dash (less formal than the colon): EX: Nuclear waste is hazardous: This is an indisputable fact.
3. Make the clauses into separate sentences.
EX: Gestures are a means of communication for everyone. They are essential for the hearing impaired.
4. Restructure the sentence so that one of the clauses becomes subordinate. EX: While gestures are a...
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