What do these three sentences have in common?
I looked into the closet, it was empty.
Krepps jerked his head from side to side, then he ran across the parking lot.
We were worried about rain, however, the weather was beautiful for our open house.
Answer: They’re all run-on sentences. (Other names for this error are fused sentence and comma splice.)
Here are a few principles to live by. (They’re easy to learn, and they can save you from many errors!)
- Don’t use a comma to join two sentences.
- Here’s how to tell if you have two sentences: Look at the beginning. If it starts with a person, place, or thing – it’s a sentence. Use a period.
- There are only seven words that you can use with a comma to join sentences: For, And, Nor, But, Or, Yet, So (the FANBOYS words)
- In real-world writing, most people use only two of these words: And, But.
Let’s fix today’s sentences. (It’s easy – just use a period!)
I looked into the closet. It was empty. CORRECT
Krepps jerked his head from side to side. Then he ran across the parking lot. CORRECT
We were worried about rain. However, the weather was beautiful for our open house. CORRECT
You can download and print a free handout explaining comma rules at this link: http://bit.ly/EasyCommas
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