There are three important things to remember about run-ons. First of all, they aren’t necessarily long. These are all run-ons:

(a) He walked she ran.

(b) The vegetables were fresh they were great.

(c) Dogs bark cats meow.

(d) Nancy loved antiques, she disliked most modern things.

(e) The picnic was postponed, it rained.

(f) The first semester was hard, the second one was a little better.

Notice that the first three examples do not contain a comma between the clauses, and the last three examples do. Examples (d) through (f) are technically called comma splices, but they are a sentence structure error so similar to run-ons that both types of mistakes are frequently just called run-ons to keep things simple. Try to solve each of the six errors above, using the sentence-combining techniques that you know.

The second important fact about run-ons and comma splices is that the second clause often begins with a pronoun. Go back and see how many examples in our discussion show this pattern. If you watch for this tendency in your own writing, you’ll prevent a lot of problems. Let’s suppose you wrote, “Christopher wants to eat, he is starved.” When you wrote “he is starved,” you produced an independent clause, which must be connected to the clause before it. The fact that he refers to Christopher in the first clause does not mean that the two clauses are already connected.

Here’s the third point. The word that can attach one clause to another clause as a complement. So the following examples are not run-ons. They are perfectly acceptable sentences because the word that makes the second clause the complement of the first clause. The clauses are connected by the word that.

(a) Charlene knew that Mike was right.

(b) The managers of both stores thought that they could solve their problems alone.

(c) Mary Ann and Bobby hoped that their baby would be on time.

Exercise 2.5

Label each sentence OK, CS, or RO. Mark the spot where one sentence runs on or splices into the other. Then rewrite the problem sentences, using sentence-combining techniques where possible. Please use your own paper for the rewrites for this exercise and all the other exercises in this unit.

1. _________ Diamonds have a certain mystique about them this has been true for over 2,700 years.

2. _________ The first diamonds were discovered along river-beds in south central India, they were found about 800 B.C.

3. ________ South central India was the primary source of diamonds for about two thousand years, then South America became the major source, later South Africa did.

4. _________ Although South Africa is the location of the best diamond mines in the world, diamonds are also found in many other places, including other parts of Africa, Australia, Russia, and the United States.

5. _______ In the United States, there are 19 diamond mines, most are around the border between Colorado and Wyoming.

Exercise 2.6

Label each sentence OK, CS, or RO. Mark the spot where one sentence runs on or splices into the other. Then rewrite problem sentences, using sentence-combining techniques where possible.

1. ________ How do you know a good diamond when you see one?

2. ________ Diamonds are judged on the basis of the three Cs, the three Cs are carats, cut, and clarity.

3. ________ The word carat comes from the Greek word keration, which means “carob seed” carob seeds were used to measure the weight of diamonds long ago in India.

4. ________ In the modern world of diamond dealing, a carat is a more standard measure it represents of an ounce.

5. ________ The largest diamond ever found was 3,106 carats, that equals about 1.3 pounds.