8FOLD: Journey Into # 13: The Five Graph Trap!

Tom Russell milos_parker at yahoo.com
Sat Jul 24 09:00:10 PDT 2010

On Jul 23, 11:54 pm, Saxon Brenton <saxonbren... at hotmail.com> wrote:
> On Thurs 22nd July 2010 Scott Eiler replied to Tom:
> > Aww, Tom, just say it. Rules against run-on sentences are meant to be
> > broken when it helps the story. 8{D>
> Yeah, but, I'm not sure they helped in this case.  When I reached the
> end of the first paragraph, I realised I'd lost track of what it was trying
> to tell me somewhere in the second half, and had to go back and reread

I'm sorry about that.  I knew I was kinda pushing it this time, but it
looks like I may have pushed it a little too far. :-O

> it (only *then* noticing that it contained massive run-on sentances).

But but but-- they're *not* run-on sentences. Long, yes. Maybe too
long. But it's not a run-on this is a run-on there are three complete
sentences here that are not joined together by a conjunction or
adequate punctuation.  That's a run-on.  Whereas if we render it like

But it's not a run-on; this is a run-on: there are three complete
sentences here that are not joined together by a conjunction (or
adequate punctuation).

Or like this:

That's not a run-on, but this is a run-on, as there are three complete
sentences here and they haven't been joined together by a conjunction
or adequate punctuation.

-- Then it's still a single long sentence, if now a highly inaccurate
one, as it is no longer a run-on.

Run-on sentences are ugly, grammatically-incorrect, and poorly-
written.  One might not care for my sentences when they go long or
when they use the list-form; one might be irritated by my over-
reliance on semicolons, colons, and parentheticals (especially in
dialogue); several people, though I haven't heard much in that respect
around these parts, consider my usage of British spellings and words
like "electric torch" to be affectations: there are a lot of things
about my writing style that might turn someone off or leave me open to
criticism.  And I think, on the balance, I'm open to that criticism,
and have on several occasions said, "yes, so-and-so, you're right" and
"I could've done that better".  If someone thinks my writing, either
in part or in toto, is poor, then they're welcome to say so, and-- a
complete lack of understanding how the American justice system works
aside-- after explaining the effect I was going for and expressing
remorse that it didn't work, I don't think I'd take umbrage.

But I put a lot of time, thought, and care in my writing.  And so
being accused, even inadvertently, of carelessness-- which is
essentially what a run-on sentence is emblematic of, along with a base
ignorance of the workings of the written English language-- is
something I'm going to bristle at when I think the accusation is

Again, I don't mean to be overly bitchy or pedantic here, but it
really and truly is an incredibly important distinction.  Elsewhere
when this topic came up, Dvandom said that it was more like a ramble-
on sentence.  Which stung, but was not completely inaccurate.  And if
you want to call it that, sure, I'll accept that criticism.

Of course, should I ever write an actual run-on sentence, I'm hoping
someone would call me on it I think in that case you'll see my
reaction would be far more contrite, at any rate thank you everyone
for the feedback.


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