Monday, March 22, 2010

Run-on or Cumulative

Learning is not attained by chance, it must be sought for with ardor and attended to with diligence. ~Abigail Adams

A run on sentence can go on for what seems a long time, never really saying anything.
What makes up a run on sentence?

When a person ends a sentence to quick, it is considered a fragment.

Johnny went.

Where did Johnny go?

Look at the following sentence.
I saw a teacher who cares.

The author of this sentence may have wanted to write:
I saw a teacher. Who cares? A complete sentence followed by a question.

Using periods (and other forms of punctuation) and knowing when to end a sentence are very important. If you don't end a sentence appropriately, the intended meaning can be changed, or it can be misunderstood. Sometimes the meaning is simply incomprehensible.

When a person learns to write English sentences and compositions, one common problem is writing sentences that are too long. When a sentence ends too quickly, it is called a sentence fragment. When a sentence has too many ideas and runs on too long, it is called a run-on sentence. If you have this problem, don't worry. It is quite easy to fix.

The first thing you need to do is identify when a sentence is a run-on. A run-on is a sentence that really has TWO sentences (or complete ideas) INCORRECTLY combined into one. It is okay to combine two sentences into one, but you must follow some rules.

You might be wondering: "What is a sentence?" A sentence consists of 3 things:

1) a subject (the noun or proper noun that is performing the action.)

2) a verb (that would be the action)

3) a complete idea (we’re not left waiting to read another word. It is complete)

The run on is not a complete idea. Too many words later you realize there is no complete thought in the sentence turned paragraph.

Timmy went to the store for his mother and bought a loaf of bread and he came back home and got ready for the dance that evening and then he felt queasy because he was unsure if his date would really like him and he passed out.

There is really a complete idea here with:  Timmy went to the store for his mom.

A cumulative sentence has a different meaning.

An independent clause  followed by a series of subordinate constructions (phrases  or clauses that gather details about a person, place, event, or idea. It gathers. The sentence doesn’t run on and on.  It is building into a complete a sentence; a complete thought.

To me, a writer, this seems like both the sentences are the same, but with further study they are different in the flow and fluid feel when they come from your lips.

If you read out loud, (and I advise everyone to do this with their work) or at least HEAR it spoken, you’ll see the difference in the sounds of the sentences.

Timmy, in his youth, went to the store one day to get him mom a loaf of bread, only to return and realize he had to get ready for the party of which he was unsure his date would like him.

Complete thought. Cumulative. It builds into a sentence and gives you a complete thought.

Now you try and practice. Take a kernel sentence like, Jane ran. Now run with it! Make it a cumulative sentence and not a run-on!

Get to work writers!


Stormcrow said...

Hey, I like run-on sentences.

joni said...

Nooo, you like cumulative!
King writes them all the time! And you're one of the biggest King fans I know, besides myself of course. :)

Ro said...

One day I started a blog because I was getting a guide dog and I started reading other blogs and one of them is this one that this writer writes and I learn a lot from it and she has a fiance and he likes King and they talk about writing and it's a lot of fun and run on sentences sound really funny on a screen reader and I know that because I use one because I'm blind and so is the writer's fiance but he uses a different one.

joni said...

Very funny,Ro, as you practice the run on sentence and it makes everything funny in your reader. Have any croissants lately? hahaha hmm..
There are so many things screen readers can do that we can't like our words make us smile but I bet screen readers make you laugh out loud! *smile* Whew...I'm breathless. lol

June said...

Glad to see you spreading the word about cumulative sentences, Joni!

I'll have to go look at King's writing and see how he uses the cumulative sentence.

Run-on sentences? Me? Never! LOL!

Take care,

joni said...

I try to avoid the run on, and I'm quite the talker! lol Ask anyone.

Now cumulative, I'm learning, they're not the evil I thought they were. lol

June said...

Correct, Joni - not evil at all.


It's all in how you build them...

Take care,