The Run-on Sentence

A Run-on Sentence contains two main clauses that are joined together with a comma or pause.

A Run-on Sentence contains two main clauses that are joined together with a dash a longer pause.

A Run-on Sentence contains two main clauses that come together with no punctuation at all.

The Dash

The dash gives the reader a long pause.

Example:

To celebrate this auspicious occasion, specially prepared rice cakes called song pyun are made of rice steamed over pine leaves and then colored to form layers of pink, white, and green; pretty rice cakes, filled with sesame seeds and sugar or sweet yellow beans, made by Korean women are said to insure the birth of a future daughter - a very beautiful daughter.

  • The comma (a pause) and the dash (a longer pause) are not used to join main clauses.

  • Main clauses connected with a comma or a dash create a run-on sentence.

The Speaker Clause

A Speaker Clause which is a main or dependent clause comes before or after a quoted statement.

An Exception to the rule:

  • When two main clauses are joined with a comma, a run-on sentence occurs.

  • However, speaker clauses, create a situation which is an exception to that rule.

When a speaker clause comes in front of a quote, it is followed by a comma.

Example:

In writing about another kind of Moon Festival celebrated on the Islands, the writer, Joan Clarke, says, "Mid August is also time for the Moon Festival, a Chinese and Vietnamese fete known as Festival of the Reunion."

  • The end quotation mark comes after the period that ends the quote.

When a speaker clause follows a quote, it is preceded by a comma.

Example:

"As in the West, the moon also symbolizes romance," says Clarke.

  • The first letter of the first word that follows the quotation is not capitalized.

When a speaker clause comes between main clauses, a run-on sentence is prevented by using a period, a semicolon, or a comma plus a coordinate connective.

Examples:

Wrong:

"Yueh Lao, the man of the moon, is the universal matchmaker," she continues, "on this night of the harvest festival, he is busy tying destined couples together with invisible red silk thread."

  • A run-on sentence occurs before or after the speaker clause - she continues.

Right:

Moon cakes are eaten at this time, and "salted duck egg, watermelon seeds, and almonds may be tucked into the center," says Clarke," for it is said that eating moon cakes with seeds will bless one with many children."

  • The comma and the coordinate connective, for have prevented a run-on sentence.