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Academic Assistance Center > Writing Center > Resources > Errors in Grammar
Frequently Seen Errors in Grammar

Run-on Sentences

Run-on sentences refer to complete independent clauses strung together without using appropriate punctuation or coordinating conjunctions.

Wrong: Mosquitoes are annoying in the Boundary Waters area in the summer, but tourists do not mind that, and many people make it their number one choice for canoeing.

Correct: Mosquitoes are annoying in the Boundary Waters area in the summer, but tourists do not mind that. Many people make it their number one choice for canoeing.

Wrong: Peter Kujawa won international acclaim as a critic, he was a political science professor at Warsaw University.

Correct: Peter Kujawa won international acclaim as a critic. He was a political science professor at Warsaw University.

Or by turning the second independent sentence into a non-restrictive adjective clause: Peter Kujawa, who was a political science professor at Warsaw University, won international acclaim as a critic.

Or by turning the second independent sentence into adjective phrase in apposition with the subject: Peter Kujawa, who was a political science professor at Warsaw University, won international acclaim as a critic.

Wrong: I walked out of the house, I saw the bear, and I hurried back into the house immediately.

Correct (by turning one of the independent sentences into an adverbial clause introduced by a conjunction): As soon as I walked out of the house, I saw the bear. I hurried back into the house immediately.

            Or by turning one of the independent sentences into an adverbial phrase of time introduced by a present participle: Walking out of the house, I saw the bear. I hurried back into the house immediately.

            Or by combining the first two independent sentences and turning them into one present participial phrase of cause/reason: Seeing the bear upon walking out of the house, I hurried back into the house immediately.

Sentence Fragments

Sentence fragments are not complete sentences in the strict sense of the words. They may look like sentences but are only phrases without  a verb or a subject. To avoid sentence fragments, a sentence should have a SUBJECT and a VERB.

Wrong: An interstate highway bridge collapse that occurred in Minneapolis in 2007, killing 10 people.

Correct: An interstate highway bridge collapse that occurred in Minneapolis in 2007 killed 10 people.

Wrong: Kevin likes running a lot. Runs four miles a day.
Correct: Kevin likes running a lot. He runs four miles a day.

Wrong: Amy has one wish. To go to college for a bachelor’s degree in biology.
Correct: Amy’s wish is to go to college for a bachelor’s degree in biology.

By Shou-ching Chao, Ph.D.