Sentence Structure and Avoiding Run-on Sentences

Sentence Structure
Depending on the number and type of clauses they contain, sentences are classified as
simple, compound, complex, compound-complex.
Simple Sentences
A simple sentence contains only one independent clause.
Without dancing, life would not be fun. (Red indicates subject & verb).
A simple sentence can also contain compound elements (subject, verb, object).
Evil enters like a needle and spreads like an oak. (compound verb)
Compound sentences
A compound sentence consists of two or more independent clauses with no subordinate
clauses. They are joined with a comma and a coordinating conjunction (and, but, or,
nor, so, for, yet) or with a semicolon.
He wanted to join the group, but the other members wouldn’t let him.
Most singers gain fame through hard work and dedication; Evita, however, found
another means.
Complex sentences
A complex sentence is composed of one independent clause with one or more
subordinate clauses.
The fur that warms a monarch once warmed a bear.
Home is the place where you slip in the tub and break your neck.
Talent is what you possess.
Dig a well before you are thirsty.
Whoever gossips to you will gossip about you.
Juan can run faster than I can bicycle.
When he adopts a creed, a scientist commits suicide.
The receptionist knows [that] you are here.
Subordinating Adverbs
Even though since
Relative Pronouns

rather than
so that

in order that





Other words introducing subordinate clauses.
Whomever Whatever


The above is true in both Spanish and English (Hacker, 2009, 768-770).

Run-On Sentences

as if


so. . in fact. they are essential for the hearing impaired. but. 2. EX: Gestures are a means of communication for everyone. When a writer puts no punctuation and no coordinating conjunction between independent clauses. they are essential for the hearing impaired. EX: Gestures are a means of communication for everyone they are essential for the hearing paired. nevertheless. for. 296-308). EX: Gestures are a means of communication for everyone. A more common run-on sentence is the comma splice—two independent clauses joined with a comma without a coordinating conjunction (and. for example. They are essential for the hearing impaired. but they are essential for the hearing impaired. Use a semi-colon (if the clauses are related) or a colon or a dash to separate the independent clauses. EX: Gestures are a means of communication for everyone. In other comma splices. they are essential for the hearing impaired. (Other common transitions: moreover. nor). etc. There are two types of run-on sentences. 4. If a sentence is correct write correct after it. however. 2009. Make the clauses into separate sentences. yet.Run-on sentences are a serious problem because they indicate that the writer does not understand basic sentence structure either in Spanish or English. EXERCISE Revise any run-on sentences using a technique that you find effective. Sometimes the semi-colon is accompanied by a transitional expression. Restructure the sentence so that one of the clauses becomes subordinate. (However is not a coordinating conjunction). however they are essential for the hearing impaired. 3. (Notice here the improper joining with nothing but a comma). they are essential for the hearing impaired (Hacker. EX: Gestures are a means of communication for everyone. If appropriate you may also use a colon or a dash (less formal than the colon): EX: Nuclear waste is hazardous: This is an indisputable fact.). EX: While gestures are a means of communication for everyone. Run-ons are independent clauses (a word group that can stand alone as a complete sentence) that have not been joined correctly. There are four methods of fixing a run-on sentence: 1. the comma is accompanied by a joining word that is not a coordinating conjunction. EX: Gestures are a means of communication for everyone. the sentence is said to be fused. Use a comma and coordinating conjunction: EX: Gestures are a means of communication for everyone. or.

however. 9. don’t wait until the end of the semester to start studying. I ran the three blocks as fast as I could I missed the bus. consider this advice. don’t blame the weatherman. 17. 6. The floor around the refreshment stand was sticky. his grandfather had been a multimillionaire. The center of Monterrey is the Macroplaza. it is not safe to drive. the hurricane made us come home earlier than we had planned. this plaza is one of the largest in the world. many of them did not sleep for days. 5. 3. The streets of Mexico City are dangerous. Mr.1. If you want to get good grades. The volunteers worked hard to clean up after the hurricane. I was lucky to make it away with both shoes on my feet. 2. lunch is a luxury I cannot afford. blame nature. The next time an event is canceled because of rain. 8. The building is being renovated we have no heat or water. . We planned to spend our vacation at Padre Island. 15. 7. 12. 4. she had lied before. Romero is an excellent linguist. he wouldn’t sell them. Juan is a top competitor he has been running for years. 11. Are you able to endure boredom. 14. 10. President Fox was standing next to the podium. 16. There was one major reason for his wealth. 13. in fact. however. We didn’t trust her. Somedays I only have money for the bus. then this might be the right career for you. Carlos never drove the vintage cars his father left him. he speaks six languages. he was waiting for President Bush to introduce him to the press.