What kinds of sentences should not be?
Why, fragments and run-ons, of course. They are pet peeves of mine.
Run-ons, also called comma splices, happen when two sentences are incorrectly joined by a comma.
Example: I enjoy writing, I also enjoy editing.
What can we do to fix this? We can either break the sentence into two complete sentences…
I enjoy writing. I also enjoy editing.
…or separate the two sentences with a semicolon instead of a comma:
I enjoy writing; I also enjoy editing.
Be careful with the semicolon, however. Don’t use it unless each part on either side of it could stand alone as a complete sentence.
Fragments, or sentence fragments, are kind of the opposite of run-ons. They are incomplete sentences that are made to stand alone.
Example: I am an editor. As well as a writer.
The phrase in bold above is a fragment. It contains a subject (writer) but no verb. It cannot and should not stand alone.
How do we fix this? Join the fragment (with a comma) to the previous sentence (make sure the latter is a complete sentence), such as:
I am an editor, as well as a writer.
As an editor, I fix run-ons and fragments frequently. Hopefully this lesson that I just presented is a helpful one.
Fellow editors, what are some of your biggest pet peeves in writing?