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Run-On Sentences

Run-on sentences occur when writers try to combine more than one idea into a single sentence. They cause confusion because readers are not sure when one idea ends and the next one begins. Read our entry and test your knowledge with our quiz!



Compound words function as two words that combine to create a new word with a new meaning. Let’s look at an example: 

Butter” has its own unique meaning– a pale, yellow, fatty substance that is made by churning cream and is typically used as a spread or in cooking.

Fly” has several distinct meanings as well – it can mean  the zipper or buttons on a pair of pants; a small, black, irritating insect; or a verb that means to move through the air. 

When we combine these two words together into the compound word butterfly, however, a new word is created that has only a slight connection to the two individual words it consists of. 

There are three forms of compound words: 

  1. The closed form: These compound words are just like the butterfly example given above. They occur when two distinct words are combined into one new word with its own new meaning. Examples include: backpack, makeup, skateboard, keypad, grandfather, sunbeam, noteworthy, wastebasket, and hardheaded. 

  2. The hyphenated form: These compound words are created by again connecting two separate words to create a new one. Instead of simply combining two words into one, we now combine them by using a hyphen. Examples include: beak-nosed, one-way, low-budget, mother-in-law, first-class, hit-or-miss, catch-as-catch-can, helter-skelter, and well-known. 

  3. The open form: These are probably the trickiest of all compound words. Instead of combing two words into one, the open form leaves two words apart. However, the specific order of these words changes their meaning and combines to form a noun that consists of two separate words. Examples include: peanut butter, high school, hair stylist, registered nurse, ice cream, and ice cube.