Run-on sentences can make a person forget what you are writing about because as you continue to make the sentence longer, people forget what you had intended to write about in the first place and the point is very confusing for the reader, and sometimes the writer can even forget the point they were making in the middle of writing the sentence, and then it is even more confusing and frustrating whereas, complication is in the length of sentence.
Just kidding! Don’t do anything I just did.
However, this may have shown an excellent example of how many different ways a run-on sentence can be wrong.
In the corporate and blogging world the overuse of run-on sentences is all too common. Even though there are exceptions, like Faulkner and Hemingway, most people cannot pull off this arranged artistry. Not everyone can write a 118-word sentence and get away with it.
William Faulkner, “That Evening Sun.”
“The streets are paved now, and the telephone and electric companies are cutting down more and more of the shade trees–the water oaks, the maples and locusts and elms–to make room for iron poles bearing clusters of bloated and ghostly and bloodless grapes, and we have a city laundry which makes the rounds on Monday morning, gathering the bundles of clothes into bright-colored, specially-made motor cars: the soiled wearing of a whole week now flees apparition-like behind alert and irritable electric horns, with a long diminishing noise of rubber and asphalt like tearing silk, and even the Negro women who still take in white people’s washing after the old custom, fetch and deliver it in automobiles.”
Staying simple is always best. People don’t have to spend time dissecting a sentence while it remains a clear point.
Run-on sentence definition
A grammatically faulty sentence in which two or more main or independent clauses are joined without a word to connect them or a punctuation mark to separate them: “The fog was thick he could not find his way home.” The error can be corrected by adding a conjunction with a comma (“The fog was thick, and he could not find his way home”) or by separating the two clauses with a semicolon(“The fog was thick; he could not find his way home”).
Source: The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Most issues that lead to run-on sentences are based off of two common errors; packing too many points into one sentence, and not being clear and articulate with an intention. Remember as a writer, what point are you trying to make. How can you make your point clear? Be concise and stop for a second to moment. If I were reading run-on sentences out loud I would have to be a champion swimmer to get through a sentence without stopping for a breather.
Here are some examples and solutions
This is a common overuse, and is placed multiple times in the same sentence. Simply break up the sentence into multiple sentences or replace the conjunction entirely. Some options for replacement: also, while, simultaneously, with, in addition to, or in conjunction with.
USE MORE PERIODS, COMMAS, and SEMICOLONS
If you find you are trying to say too much in one sentence just put in a period, semicolon, or comma and split up the sentence.
Example 1: I want to go to school tomorrow and learn great things because it is so absolutely fun and exciting.
Example 1 with a period and a comma: I want to go to school tomorrow, and learn great things. It is so absolutely fun and exciting.
Example 1 with a semicolon and a comma: I want to go to school tomorrow, and learn great things; it is so absolutely fun and exciting.
Beginner writers tend to be overzealous at the beginning wanting to ram too much information in too small of a platform. A writer’s first priority is clarity. A sentence does not need to be long to emphasize a point, in fact, the shorter the sentence the easier it is to emote.
There are many words that can be cut entirely from sentences to create a larger impact on the reader.
Here are some examples:
Just: There is no need for this word. Example: It is just a filler word. It is a filler word.
Literally, totally, completely: These words do not make any difference in the emphasis. Example: This literally doesn’t change anything. This doesn’t change anything.
Basically, generally, actually, particularly, really, specifically: To drive home something adding these words detracts from the intensity of the phrase. Example: Specifically, newer blog-writers tend to add excessive detail. Newer blog-writers tend to add excessive detail.
Kind of, sort of, type of: If you want your point to be clear and less wishy-washy, choosing to omit phrases that lessen your point is crucial. Example: It is sort of important to be an articulate writer. It is important to be an articulate writer.
For all intents and purposes: Firstly, this phrase is overused and antiquated. Secondly, it just stops the train of thought in a paragraph and steps the reader out of the emphasized point. Example: For all intents and purposes, do not add words or phrases in your sentence that detract from driving your point home. Do not add words or phrases in your sentence that detract from driving your point home.
Quite: This word only waters down the sentence. Example: I am quite sure that you are amazing. I am sure you are amazing.
Perhaps: This word lessens the writer’s intention. Example: Perhaps I can write a clear sentence. I can write a clear sentence.
* In addition to the words above this article shares ways to prune the redundant and overused words. Check it out!
To be fair, I don’t worry about every little thing while I am writing. Clarity is important but don’t loose your voice in the process. Don’t stress too much. These are merely options and every writer breaks the rules at some point. Editing your writing is as important as the writing itself.
However, personality is what gravitates a reader and a personality style can be redundant. Repeating the same point multiple times in an article in fact is useful to drive a point and make a reader understand. Usually it takes a reader four times to read something in an article before they fully digest the topic. So, repeating can be beneficial!
I hope this was helpful and not too dry. Just remember, since the dawn of writing people have become increasingly more impatient. They want their information immediate and easy to understand. So be relaxed and give the information in a nice and digestible manner. Be sweet, be snarky, and most of all, be concise.
“A curse of being a writer is the compulsion to edit. Take the sign on my walking trail, for example. It reads, ‘Watered by well water.’ One of these days, no matter how hard I try to resist, I just know I’m going to paint it out to read, ‘Irrigated by well water.’ If you don’t get this, it’s because you’re not a writer.”