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Sentence Boundary Errors

A sentence boundary error occurs when two sentences are either incorrectly connected or incorrectly divided. Many writers struggle with sentence boundary errors. There are three types of sentence boundary errors: comma-splices, run-ons, and fused sentences. Two bits of knowledge help writers make decisions to avoid sentence boundary errors:

  1. Being able to recognize independent clauses (complete sentences). Independent clauses contain a subject and a verb and express a complete thought.
    --See more on Sentence Basics and Practice Identifying Independent and Dependent Clauses

  2. Knowing the two ways to connect sentences correctly
    1. Connect sentences with a comma + coordinate conjunction
    2. Connect sentences with a semi-colon

The Three Types of Sentence Boundary Errors

Comma Splice
A comma splice errors connects two sentences incorrectly with only a comma.
Frank likes to exercise to stay fit , he goes to the gym each day. .

Run-on

A run-on sentence connects two sentence incorrectly with only a coordinate conjunction (for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so).
The tide washes debries into the bay

and

a lot of garbage pollutes the beaches .

Fused Sentences

A fused sentence connects two sentences incorrectly with no punctuation between the sentences.
 
The 74 Chevy is really old   its tires are almost bald .

 

The Four Ways to Fix Sentence Boundary Errors

1. Separate the sentences with a period
Frank likes to exercise to stay fit . He goes to the gym each day. .

2. Connect the sentences with a semi-colon
Frank likes to exercise to stay fit ; he goes to the gym each day. .

3. Connect the sentences with a comma + conjunction
(for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so)
 
The tide washes debries into the bay

, and

a lot of garbage pollutes the beaches .


4. Connect the sentences with subordination, making one sentence into a dependent clause.
--see more on subordination

Because the tide washes debries into the bay

,

a lot of garbage pollutes the beaches .

Example passage with all three types of sentence boundary errors:

Frank like to exercise to stay fit, he goes to the gym each day. His normal routine is to wake up early and then he makes a protein shake. He loves the quiet of the gym in the early morning it is less busy. He can focus on his workout more easily in the morning, it is his favorite way to start the day.

Example passage using all four ways to correct sentence boundary errors:

Frank like to exercise to stay fit. He goes to the gym each day. His normal routine is to wake up early, and then he makes a protein shake. He loves the quiet of the gym in the early morning when it is less busy. He can focus on his workout more easily in the morning; it is his favorite way to start the day.

 

 

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