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Identifying and Fixing Run-On, Comma Splices

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Based on this lesson, identify whether each sentence is “correct” or a run-on sentence: “fused” or “comma splice.”

Note. If you have difficulties with this exercise, complete the lessons on fused sentences and comma splices first. (Links open in a new tab.)

1. Because the storm was severe, the guests could not leave the hotel for two days, they were restless.

Incorrect!

Sorry. That is a run-on sentence. Take a closer look and try again.

That’s right!

“They were restless” is a complete sentence. You cannot simply add it to the end of the first sentence using a comma.

Possible correction 1: Because the storm was severe, the guests could not leave the hotel for two days. They were restless.

Possible correction 2: Because the storm was severe, the guests could not leave the hotel for two days, so they were restless.

Incorrect!

Take a good look and try again.

2. According to the former students, Professor Ecks’s course is very complex it even requires two textbooks and an online workbook.

Not quite!

How many complete sentences are there? Take a closer look and try again.

Incorrect!

Not exactly. Try again.

Correct!

“It even requires two textbooks and an online workbook” is a complete sentence. You must either combine it with the first sentence or use it as a new sentence.

Possible correction 1:
According to the former students, Professor Ecks’s course is very complex. It even requires two textbooks and an online workbook.

Possible correction 2:
According to the former students, Professor Ecks’s course is so complex that it even requires two textbooks and an online workbook.

3. They interviewed over 100 candidates for the position, but they could not find anyone qualified for the job.

Good job!

There are two ideas in this sentence, but they are properly combined using the coordinating conjunction “but.”

Not quite!

Take a closer look and try again.

Incorrect!

Examine the sentence and try again.

4. It is not always easy to understand English grammar that is why English-language learners often need to take grammar courses when they go to college.

Incorrect!

The sentence may make sense, but that does not mean it is written correctly. Take a closer look and try again.

Incorrect!

The sentence does not even have a comma, so a comma splice cannot be an issue.

Correct!

That is a typical fused sentence. You have two complete separate ideas and nothing combining them.

Possible correction 1:
It is not always easy to understand English grammar. That is why English-language learners often need to take grammar courses when they go to college.

Possible correction 2:
It is not always easy to understand English grammar, which is why English-language learners often need to take grammar courses when they go to college.

5. People in the small town were distraught, they had never had any serious crimes in their community.

Not really!

Take a closer look. Are there separate ideas in this sentence? Should they be combined somehow?

Correct!

“They had never had any serious crimes in their community” is a complete sentence. You need a period before it so you have a standalone sentence.

Incorrect!

You may be on to something here, but take another look.

6. Online courses require students to read a great deal of instructions when completing assignments, yet many students with poor reading skills want to enroll in online courses.

Excellent!

Although you have two complete sentences here, they are combined using a coordinating conjunction. You do need a comma before “yet.”

That’s not it!

There is a comma in the sentence indeed, but does that mean it is a comma splice?

Incorrect!

Examine the sentence again carefully.

7. You will be successful completing the task if you follow each step in the instructions, breaking the assignment down into shorter steps helps you stay focused.

Not exactly!

Break the sentence down into separate, complete ideas. Then decide how you can put them together.

Correct!

“Breaking the assignment down into shorter steps helps you stay focused” is a complete sentence. You need a period at the end of the first part. You can also find a way to combine the two sentences.

Possible correction 1: You will be successful completing the task if you follow each step in the instructions. Breaking the assignment down into shorter steps helps you stay focused.

Possible correction 2: You will be successful completing the task if you follow each step in the instructions because breaking the assignment down into shorter steps will help you stay focused.

You’re almost there!...

There is a comma between the sentences, so it cannot be a fused sentence. Maybe it is a comma splice, or maybe there is nothing wrong with the sentence... Try again.

8. Texas weather is often described as extreme it can be cool one day and dangerously hot the next.

Incorrect!

There are two complete sentences there without any punctuation in between.

Incorrect!

There are no commas in the sentence, so it cannot be a comma splice.

That’s right!

There are two complete sentences there. You need to use a period to keep them separate or combine them somehow.

Possible correction 1: Use a period to keep the sentences separate.
Texas weather is often described as extreme. It can be cool one day and dangerously hot the next.

Possible correction 2: Combine the closely-related ideas using a semi-colon.
Texas weather is often described as extreme; it can be cool one day and dangerously hot the next.

9. When you finish writing your draft, revise your work for clarity edit it for grammar issues and make sure your document is formatted correctly.

Incorrect!

Remember? If you have complete sentences, you cannot just put them together back to back.

Not exactly!

Look at the separate sentences. Try again.

That’s right!

This sentence actually has three independent sentences. They must be separated from each other using commas.

Prossible correction: Add commas between the sentences.
When you finish writing your draft, revise your work for clarity, edit it for grammar issues, and make sure your document is formatted correctly.

10. Professor Ecks is not in his office today, I suggest you email him and make an appointment.

Incorrect!

Take a good look. How many independent sentences are there?

You got it!

There are two independent sentences here. You should not use commas to separate two independent sentences. Either use a period or combine them (for example, using a coordinating conjunction).

Possible correction: Professor Ecks is not in his office today. I suggest you email him and make an appointment.

Incorrect!

This sentence has a comma between the two sentences, so it cannot be “fused.”

11. The passengers complained about the flight delays, they received travel vouchers as compensation.

Incorrect!

Examine the sentences closely. Are they independent sentences?

You got it!

When you have two independent sentences, they should stand alone. You can also combine them somehow, but you cannot simply use a comma to combine them.

Incorrect!

There is a comma between the two parts of the sentence, so they are not really fused.

12. In a recent study, they found that caffeine has health benefit, but you should still drink coffee in moderation.

Correct!

The two independent ideas are combined using the coordinating conjunction “but.” You need a comma before the conjunction and the second complete clause.

Incorrect!

Look again. Do not forget about using conjunctions.

Incorrect!

There is a comma between the complete clauses in this sentence. Is it being used correctly?

13. Item

Correct!

Encouragement

Incorrect!

Explanation

Correct!

Encouragement

Incorrect!

Explanation

Correct!

Encouragement

Incorrect!

Explanation

14. Item

Correct!

Encouragement

Incorrect!

Explanation

Correct!

Encouragement

Incorrect!

Explanation

Correct!

Encouragement

Incorrect!

Explanation

15. Item

Correct!

Encouragement

Incorrect!

Explanation

Correct!

Encouragement

Incorrect!

Explanation

Correct!

Encouragement

Incorrect!

Explanation

16. Item

Correct!

Encouragement

Incorrect!

Explanation

Correct!

Encouragement

Incorrect!

Explanation

Correct!

Encouragement

Incorrect!

Explanation

17. Item

Correct!

Encouragement

Incorrect!

Explanation

Correct!

Encouragement

Incorrect!

Explanation

Correct!

Encouragement

Incorrect!

Explanation

18. Item

Correct!

Encouragement

Incorrect!

Explanation

Correct!

Encouragement

Incorrect!

Explanation

Correct!

Encouragement

Incorrect!

Explanation

19. Item

Correct!

Encouragement

Incorrect!

Explanation

Correct!

Encouragement

Incorrect!

Explanation

Correct!

Encouragement

Incorrect!

Explanation

20. Item

Correct!

Encouragement

Incorrect!

Explanation

Correct!

Encouragement

Incorrect!

Explanation

Correct!

Encouragement

Incorrect!

Explanation

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