Article of the Week

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!

Formal Writing

When writing for school, you must use formal writing standards. Several important aspects differentiate formal/academic writing from informal writing.

1. In formal writing, avoid slang.

Informal example: I coulda beat her in the basketball game.

“Coulda” is slang for “could have”. It would be better to say:

Formal Correction: I could have beaten her in the basketball game.


2. In formal writing, spell out words completely and do not use contractions.

Informal example: I can’t believe that she didn’t buy the dress.

“Can’t” and “didn’t” should become “cannot” and “did not”.  It would be better to say:

Formal Correction: I cannot believe that she did not buy the dress.

3. In formal writing, try to mix simple and complex sentences together.

Informal example: The committee voted on the bill.  The bill passed.

These are two short, relatively uninteresting sentences.  It would be better to combine them into a single sentence that flows more smoothly:

Formal Correction: After the committee voted on the bill, it passed.