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University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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Writers Workshop: Writer Resources

Grammar Handbook: Fused Sentences, Run-ons, and Comma Splices

Fused Sentences

A fused sentence (also known as a run-on sentence) occurs when two independent clauses are joined without any punctuation or connecting word between them.

Comma Splices

A comma splice occurs when two independent clauses are joined only by a comma.

Six Ways to Eliminate Fused Sentences and Comma Splices

  1. Separate the clause into two sentences:
    • It was close to fall. The trees were losing their leaves.
  2. Link the clauses with a semicolon:
    • It was close to fall; the trees were losing their leaves.
  3. Link the clauses with a comma and a coordinating conjunction:
    • It was close to fall, so the trees were beginning to lose their leaves.
  4. Recast the two independent clauses as one independent clause:
    • It was the time of year when trees begin to lose their leaves.
  5. Recast one of the independent clauses as a dependent clause:
    • Because it was close to fall, the trees were losing their leaves.
  6. Use a semicolon before a conjunctive adverb (also, anyway, besides, furthermore, incidentally, moreover, otherwise, and thus) or a transitional expression (after all, by the way, for example, in other words, and on the other hand) placed between independent clauses:
    • It was close to fall; consequently, the trees were losing their leaves.