Imagine yourself taking a swim inside an Olympic-sized swimming pool. For every lap, you need to take deep breaths before you set off to make sure you have enough air to survive the course. Reading through a fused sentence is nearly the same, due to how these sentences do not consist of a punctuation between two relative or contrasting thoughts to serve as your breather. For the most part, this makes it more difficult for you to fully understand the main point of what you’re reading. With that being said, it’s important to rectify these types of sentences to ensure clarity.
A fused sentence, also known as a run-on sentence, occurs when two main clauses are connected in a sentence without the presence of a punctuation. However, little importance is given to the length of the sentence, as even a short sentence may already be categorized as a fused sentence.
Although fused sentences are treated as errors in the world of grammar examples, some writers use them deliberately to attain special effects, especially in informal contexts for colloquial speech. But for creating formal pieces of writing, writers must be careful in using such, whether this is done intentionally or unintentionally, in their narratives.
For us to identify the difference between a fused sentence and a properly structured sentence, we must first understand what an independent clause really is.
Technically, there is no limit on the number of words a sentence can have. For a sentence to be considered as a fused sentence, you must look into its independent or main clauses. An independent clause is simply a group of words that can stand on its own to form a grammatically complete sentence.
Let’s take these independent clauses for example:
It was 7:25 in the morning
Chester and Scott rushed to catch the school bus
If you put a period by the end of each clause, then you’ll be left with a complete sentence. But combining the two independent clauses to form a single sentence is a writing technique that most writers do to create interesting narratives. With that being said, let’s take a look at what would happen once this is applied:
It was 7:25 in the morning Chester and Scott rushed to catch the school bus.
Once the two clauses are combined without adding or omitting any words or punctuation marks, then a fused sentence is formed. Let’s see what happens if a comma is inserted between the two main clauses:
It was 7:25 in the morning, Chester and Scott rushed to catch the school bus.
Although the independent clauses have already been separated to correct the fused sentence, this only leads to another kind of run-on mistake called a “comma splice”. Knowing this, it’s safe to say that a comma isn’t sufficient enough to join two main clauses together. Instead, there are other techniques which make use of a punctuation or a conjunction that is proven to be more effective. You may also see Cumulative Sentence.
Listed below are some examples of fused sentences in everyday language:
In most cases, fused sentences can ruin the essence of one’s writing. Although the balanced sentence may make sense to some extent, it can still cause confusion once interpreted differently by the reader. Fused sentences usually exist when one writes simultaneously, often forgetting to punctuate the sentence to separate its clauses, or when the writer has little knowledge in the proper use of punctuation. Regardless of one’s reason, it’s important to correct this grammatical flaw to promote clear communication.
Fortunately, it isn’t hard to correct a fused sentence, as long as you pick a strategy you’re comfortable with. These techniques are as follows:
The simplest way to rectify a fused sentence is to break the error into two different sentences. All you need to do is identify the independent clauses in the sentence, then separate them with a period. You may also see Complex Sentences.
Fused Sentence: Driving home from football practice, Brendon vowed to be strict with his diet all the while he took a bite out of his double cheeseburger meal.
Correct: Driving home from football practice, Brendon vowed to be strict with his diet. All the while he took a bite out of his double cheeseburger meal.
Notice how we took out the independent clauses and transformed them into two complete sentences. This was done by using a period to end the sentence, then capitalizing the first letter of the succeeding sentence to indicate the start of a new one.
For those who aren’t too fond of the excessive use of periods, then a semicolon may just be your best weapon.
Since the function of a semicolon is just as strong as that of a period, then linking clauses with this punctuation can help correct a fused sentence.
Fused Sentence: It was close to finals the students began losing their mind with all the paperwork given.
Correct: It was close to finals; the students began losing their mind with all the paperwork given.
As you can see, not many changes have been added to the sentence, except for the semicolon inserted in between the two main clauses.
While this may be the least efficient technique for fixing a fused sentence, it’s still a good approach to rectifying fused sentences that are too complicated to correct. Writers or editors that encounter complex fused sentences may simply recast the whole sentence to make it right, without altering the original author’s main point. But keep in mind that this strategy may be used regardless of the sentence type given, as it all depends on one’s preference. You may also see Preposition Sentences.
Fused Sentence: Penny ate her cat food the brand was Whiskas.
Correct: The kind of cat food Penny ate was Whiskas.
Another good option is to use a comma and a coordinating conjunction (joining words: for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so) to connect the main clauses together.
Fused Sentence: Heather read the novel her friend watched the movie.
Correct: Heather read the novel, and her friend watched the movie.
You may also use other coordinating conjunctions to correct the error, just as follows:
Transforming your main clause into a subordinate clause is also another method you can use. But since you are turning it into a dependent clause, then the sentence must be composed of two clauses that express a complete and an incomplete thought accordingly.
Fused Sentence: It was raining outside the dogs slept indoors to stay dry.
Correct: Since it was raining outside, the dogs slept indoors to stay dry.
While this may not always be applicable for correcting fused sentences, but using a conjunctive adverb (also, anyway, besides, thus, furthermore, incidentally, otherwise, moreover) or a transitional expression (after all, by the way, in other words, for example, on the other hand) after a semicolon and in between two main clauses is still an open option for you.
Fused Sentence: It was close to spring the flowers were beginning to bloom.
Correct: It was close to spring; consequently, the flowers were beginning to bloom.
Now that we have fully discussed what fused sentences are and how to correct them, we hope you have learned a thing or two from this article. Learning about the simple errors in grammar can help enhance your skills in writing for better communication. While these type of sentences don’t seem like that much of a big deal, proper sentence construction is still important in delivering the right message. Even if you aren’t a professional writer, to begin with, you must keep in mind that knowing correct grammar plays an essential role in different aspects of life, regardless of one’s field or profession. You may also see Parallel Sentences.