Avoiding Sentence Fragments and Run-ons: Make Each Sentence Complete and Concise

Proper sentence construction is fundamental to good writing. Every sentence you write should be complete and concise. In this next tip, I’ll discuss identifying and avoiding sentence fragments and run-on sentences.

What Is a Run-on Sentence?


A run-on sentence is a sentence that connects two or more independent clauses without appropriate punctuation or coordinating conjunction. This error usually occurs when writers try to pack too much information into one sentence, resulting in a text that’s hard to follow.

Three Types of Run-on Sentences

These are the most common issues with run-on sentences that you need to look out for when writing. 

Comma Splice

This happens when two independent clauses are joined with a comma but without a coordinating conjunction.

  • Incorrect: “I love writing, it’s my favorite hobby.”
  • Correct: “I love writing; it’s my favorite hobby.”

Two Sentences Crammed Together

You get this when two independent clauses are written as one sentence without punctuation or a conjunction.

  • Incorrect: “I finished my novel I haven’t found a publisher yet.”
  • Correct: “I finished my novel, but I haven’t found a publisher yet.”

Conjunction Misuse

This usually pops up when a coordinating conjunction is used without a comma to join two independent clauses.

  • Incorrect: “I enjoy reading and I often visit libraries.”
  • Correct: “I enjoy reading, and I often visit libraries.”

How to Structure a Proper Sentence

A complete sentence should express a complete thought. It’s as simple as that. It requires at least one subject and one predicate. The subject is the doer of the action, and the predicate is the action done or the statement about the subject.

A simple sentence might look like this: “The cat (subject) sat (predicate) on the mat.”

Avoiding sentence fragments and run-on sentences is what you need to do to maintain clarity in your writing. Ensuring that each sentence is complete and concise allows you to express your thoughts more clearly and effectively.