Fixing Run-On Sentences

Writing isn’t just about understanding vocabulary and grammar; it’s also about things like structure, and even punctuation!

Punctuation can change the meaning of your sentence if placed incorrectly or omitted. And when used in the appropriate places, punctuation makes your writing smoother and more professional.

Let’s take a look at a common error that’s easy to fix: run-on sentences.

Avoiding and fixing run-on sentences
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How do I recognize a run-on sentence?

A run-on sentence contains at least two or more complete sentences (at least subject + verb) that aren’t separated with proper punctuation.

Can you find the spot in the example below where one sentence ends and the next begins?

Here is a tip: The second sentence often begins with a pronoun or words such as “however” or “for example.”

Example: The hamster laid down on her bed, she went to sleep.

In this sentence there are two complete sentences, but they are separated by a comma, which isn’t strong enough to separate two complete sentences. (This misuse of a comma is called a comma splice and it makes the sentence a run-on.)

Sentence # 1: The hamster laid down on her bed.
Sentence # 2: She went to sleep.

How can I fix my run-on sentences?

1. Place a) a period or b) a semicolon in between the two sentences.

Example: The hamster laid down on her bed.  She went to sleep.
Example: The hamster laid down on her bed; she went to sleep.

2. Place a comma and a coordinating conjunction [FANBOYS – for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so] between the two complete sentences.

Example: The hamster laid down on her bed, and she went to sleep.

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Agreement in English Conversation

A: I absolutely love going to the beach!
B: I love going to the beach, too!

The response of person B above is perfectly fine to show agreement with person A. (And really, who doesn’t love going to the beach?!)

But there’s an easier way to show agreement in conversation.

Do you know of other ways can you agree with someone who says, “I absolutely love going to the beach!”?

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I also love going to the beach. <– Also a great way to agree. But there’s a shorter way to do this!

So do I.

This simple expression can be used to agree with almost any statement.

You can also use a similar expression for agreeing with a negative statement:

A: I don’t like jogging.

Neither do I.

Agreeing with someone: Grammar structure

Agreeing with someone in English
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Agreeing with an affirmative sentence:     So + [auxiliary verb] + I.
Ex: “I love puppies.” “So do I.”

Agreeing with a negative sentence:     Neither + [auxiliary verb] + I.
Ex: “I don’t like vegetables.” “Neither do I.”

You might be wondering: What other auxiliary verbs work in this expression?

The auxiliary verb “do” is very commonly used in this expression, no matter what verb is used in the original sentence.

Exceptions to this are when the original sentence uses a form of the verb “be” or “can.” Here are some examples.

A: I am cold.
B: So am I.

A: I can ride a bike.
B: So can I.

A: I am not cold.
B: Neither am I.

A: I can’t ride a bike.
B: Neither can I.

Try and use these expressions as soon as you can! Questions or comments about this lesson? Send me a message under the “contect” tab. Get lessons like this emailed to you for free when you sign up for my email list!

How to Use Reporting Language

Reporting language, which is generally a subject (noun) + present tense verb, can help you introduce and discuss ideas from other sources that you want to integrate into your own writing. It also helps to give your sources proper credit.

Here are some ways to use reporting language in writing.

Using reporting language in writing
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[Name] “reports on” + noun phrase
Example: In her article “English is Great,” Jane Smith reports on the popularity of online English classes.

Other reporting language phrases that fit here:
…”examines” + noun phrase
…”proposes” + noun phrase
…”discusses” + noun phrase
…”points out” + noun phrase or noun clause
…”states” + noun clause
…”says” + noun clause
…”explains that” / how/ why + noun clause
…”discusses” + noun phrase or +how/why +noun clause
…”adds that” + noun clause
…”concludes that” + noun phrase

You can also use this with third person plural pronouns – and of course, change the respective verb tense:

Smith and Jones state that online English classes are very popular.


…”argues that” + noun clause
Example: Jones argues that the popularity of online language classes is due to busy schedules.

…”believes that” + noun clause
…”maintains that” + noun clause


…”asserts that” + noun clause
Example: Smith asserts that English is a simple language to learn.

…”claims that” + noun clause


…”disputes” + noun phrase
Example: Smith disputes the assertion that English is simpler than other languages..

…”disagrees that” + noun clause
…”disagrees, pointing out that” + noun clause
…”acknowledges that” + noun clause
…”agrees that” + noun clause
…”agrees, adding” + noun clause

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Being Polite with Modals

What are modal verbs?

If you’re new to modals, click here for a quick explanation.

Modals are great for expressing opinions, and are crucial for expressing politeness in English.

They are special verbs that behave grammatically different from normal verbs. Here are some important differences.

Being polite with modal verbs
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1. Modal verbs do not take “-s” in the third person, like regular verbs.

can speak Chinese.
should be here by 9:00.

2. Use “not” between the modal verb and the main verb to make a statement negative.

should not be late.
might not come to the party.

Modals often indicate time, but their main job is to denote different aspects of meaning, in terms of directness and politeness.

Explanation: CAN / COULD


CAN is used both to ask for and give permission.
It is considered less formal and more direct.
You can leave when you have finished your assignment.
COULD is used to give permission and is used to make polite requests.Could you bring me a glass of wine?

Explanation: WILL / WOULD


WILL is used for the simple future and is a direct way to present a request.

When using WILL to make requests, the speaker is not inquiring about someone’s willingness to perform the request.

Person A: Will you bring me more butter?

Person B: Yes, I’ll bring it right away.

WOULD is used for polite requests and is also used as an inquiry as to someone’s willingness to do something.Person A: Would you bring me more butter?

Person B: Sure, I’d be happy to.

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