Run on Sentences II – Fused Sentences

Another type of run-on sentence is called the fused sentence. A fused sentence contains two or more independent clauses that run together, with no punctuation or subordinate conjunctions separating the clauses. A fused sentence is often more difficult to correct compared to a comma splice, as it is even trickier to figure out where the first clause ends, and where the second one begins.

Below is an example of a fused sentence, and how to correct it with the addition of appropriate punctuation, as well as some rephrasing:

Incorrect: In his haste to leave the house for school Dylan accidentally took his sister’s bag looking for his science assignment to submit to the teacher he was surprised to find that the bag only contained Primary 2 worksheets and colour pencils instead of his own books and stationery.

Correct: In his haste to leave the house for school, Dylan accidentally took his sister’s bag. While he was looking for his science assignment to submit to the teacher, he was surprised to find that the bag only contained Primary 2 worksheets and colour pencils, instead of his own books and stationery.

In the example above, a period is added to separate the clause on Dylan accidentally taking his sister’s bag and the following clause on his looking for his science assignment – this is done because the first clause can stand on its own without being followed by another clause.

In addition to simply adding conjunction words or punctuation to correct the example of the run-on sentence above (as would be the case for a comma splice), the student may also need to do some rephrasing to make a fused sentence grammatically correct. In this case, the phrase “While he was” is added to the second clause on Dylan looking for his science assignment, to make this clause stand independently on its own.

When in doubt as to whether a sentence is run-on, it is best to keep writing simple sentences that have a clear subject, verb, and object relationship. While it is still possible for long, complex sentences to be grammatically correct, it is safer to stick to writing short-but-grammatically-correct sentences first, until one is certain that the long sentences they write are no longer run-on.

Using the Wrong Vowels II

Students also commonly misspell words that have two consecutive vowels. One of the most common spelling errors occurs when students are unsure if the word should contain ie or ei – for instance, if the word should be spelled “receive” or “recieve”. When one is unsure of how to spell words with ie or ei, an easy mnemonic that students could remember is “I before E, except after C”.

As the rhyme suggests, in most instances, ie is the correct order in which these vowels are spelled, as in: “believe”, “lie”, “shied”, “cries”, “grief”, and “pierce”.

However, when a c precedes the vowel-duo, they should be spelled as ei, as in: “receive”, “deceive”, “conceive”, “ceiling”, “receipt”, and “conceit”.

While the rule “I before E, except after C” generally applies to most words that involve the consecutive vowels i and e, it is important to note that there are some exceptions to this rule. Such exemptions include:

ie after c: “efficient”, “fancied”, “policies”, “species”, “science”, and “society”

ei not preceded by c: “either”, “beige”, “feisty”, “their”, “seize”, “sleigh”, “vein”, and “weird”

Thus, it is important not to follow this mnemonic blindly, as there are several exceptions involved to this rule. One way a student could double-check their spelling is to pronounce the word out loud before spelling it out, and to listen if it makes the ie or ei sound.