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January 06, 2010



Ah! I'm so guilty of this.

Thanks for the reminder!

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Eve, you are welcome! You did an excellent job of avoiding the error in your comment.



Also known as the comma splice, this is one of my chief bug-bears. But I fear we're fighting a losing battle against it. My prediction is that eventually it will be so common that it's considered standard English.


Run-on sentences have always looked incorrect to me. I remember being puzzled when covering run-on sentences in 7th grade English class. The teacher was trying to teach us NOT to do something I already KNEW not to do. I felt like I was being asked to eat a spoonful of SAND so I'd know NOT to eat sand.

Yet I see run-on sentences all the time in the business world, so I'm glad you're addressing this. Great post!

Lester Smith

In the first example, I'd probably write: "Thank you for the booklet; it is very helpful."

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Hi, Clare. Thank you for reminding me that the error is called a comma splice.

I don't think I will every be able to tolerate such sentences-- except with "then" in constructions like this one:

Marcia spoke, then Grace concluded.

Although it is still a comma splice in my mind, I have seen "then" as a conjunction in non-business writing for years and have gotten used to it.

Thanks for using the expression "bug-bears." I can't wait to look it up to learn its derivation.


Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

JJB, thanks for the "spoonful of sand" comparison. I like it!


Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Hi, Lester. You are correct, of course, in using the semicolon to connect the two short sentences.

Although the semicolon is a wonderful punctuation mark when used sparingly, I didn't recommend it in that structure. I don't want to encourage its overuse. In business writing classes, I see people inserting a semicolon where a conjunction or a period would clearly be better.

Were you offering your example as a possibility, or do you really prefer it?

As always, I appreciate your comment.


Michael Gladkoff

Hi, Lynn.

Thank you for the informative post.

Run-on sentences also take the prize in Australia for the most common error. In particular, this often occurs with the use of 'however'.

For example:

I have completed the proposal, however I have not submitted it.

This should be:

I have completed the proposal. However, I have not submitted it.


I have completed the proposal; however, I have not submitted it.

I cover this and other topics on my business writing blog at www.wordnerds.com.au.

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Hi, Michael.

The same "however" error occurs in the U.S. I wrote about the correct usage in "In Defense of Semicolons" on this site.

Thanks for telling us about your blog.





anyone has some example of comoon bussines writing errors?..plis give link.... i need now.... thanks before

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