Monday, March 15, 2010

Missed Periods

I am so grateful I’m not famous. How mortifying to have your romantic life on display for the world to see. Although, admittedly, having been married for six years, it would not be nearly as juicy:

The nightmare of agreeing on a

show in the big world of Cable

And, by the way, what does US Weekly mean that these women can’t find love? Jennifer Aniston had Brad Pitt’s hottest years. Cameron was in a four-year relationship with my favorite ‘N Sync member and then dabbled in male models. Jessica was married, and didn’t she and Tony Romo just break up?

Geez! Do women have to be in love at all times? Relationships are tough. I think it’s important to take a break in between. If you rush into something, you might make poor choices:

Similarly, we can’t just rush from one sentence into another without a break in between. It can be tempting, but it’s not fair to your reader, and ultimately, it’s not fair to yourself because your reader will have a hard time understanding what you are trying to say. Here's an example of what happens when we do:

After a year of considering it, Cara finally broke up with her boyfriend Ben had no idea Cara wasn’t happy in the relationship.

So, what you just experienced, my friends, is an example of a run-on sentence. A run-on sentence is simply when two or more sentences are fused together without any punctuation:

Sentence 1- After a year of considering it, Cara finally broke up with her boyfriend.
Sentence 2- Ben had no idea Cara wasn’t happy in the relationship.

Run-ons can be long like the one we just experienced, or they can be short like this one:

Her timing was terrible he had just bought her an engagement ring.

Sentence 1- Her timing was terrible.

Sentence 2- He had just bought her an engagement ring.

So, why do we do this? Why do we feel the need to rush from one sentence right into the next without a break? Well, experts claim that we do this for several reasons: we may be in a hurry, we may be afraid to slow down lest we lose our momentum, or we may just be kind of lazy, but they warn that when we write under any or all of these circumstances, we may miss our periods. Yikes!

So, what do we do?

“Slow down,” experts recommend. They claim that when people actually proofread their sentences slowly and carefully, 90% of them realize that there needs to be a break in their run-on sentences.

However, experts warn, we must be careful. We tend to incorrectly insert a comma in such situations. So, before you just stick in a comma, you must ask yourself an important question: am I separating two complete sentences? If you are, then you can’t put a comma because a comma simply isn’t strong enough to deal with a sentence on each side. Two sentences need something stronger: they either need a period or a semi-colon.

So, when do we use a period and when do we use a semi-colon? Well, that, my friends, is really a question of whether our sentences are independent or codependent. Can our sentences stand on their own comfortably?

Or do they need each other to feel complete?

Here is an example of two codependent sentences that are best held together by a semi-colon rather than separated by a period:

I almost cried when Samantha broke up with Jared; he was so hot.

I didn't want to separate those two sentences with a period because the second sentence (he was so hot) really completes the meaning of the first; it tells why I almost cried.

Here's another one:

I also cried when Big and Carrie finally got married; they belong together.

What was that? Did someone just tell me to get a life?

That's totally something that Miranda would say.


William said...

It's funny how things are. I was just reading a semi-annual magazine about a semi-yearly event that is semi-formal. A half a year ago they served a semi-translucent/semi-liquid drink that made me semi-conscious; you know how that make me semi-conservative?

Missed Periods said...

I'm interested in that drink.

PINNER said...

What a relief. I now know the cure for my diarrhea on the written page. This will help me to keep my paper clean. It will also conserve a lot of paper also.

Michale Moore

Zuly Landin said...

Well, I'm no stranger to these so called run-on sentences, my ten year old son is an expert on these. He is always in such a rush when doing homework, that he always has run-on sentences in his papers. I like to read him his work out loud, to see if he gets his mistakes and to see what funny faces he makes at his own run-on sentences. He says "Huh?" like that doesn't make any sense.

Holly Vance said...

I still like my you, your bff, and Brian Urlacher analolgy for semi-colons.

But, JennyB is brilliant.

joselopezyoo said...

okay does this semi colon work

"They will be forced to work in the hardest more stressful environments; the jobs no American will want to do."

dimes said...

thank you. i never realized why my teachers said i need to breathe in between writting =]

Missed Periods said...


The semi-colon does not work there. A semi-colon needs to have a complete sentence on either side. The first one is a complete sentence, but "the jobs no American will want to do" is not. A complete sentence has to complete a thought. Imagine going up to someone and saying " the jobs no American will want to do." They would have no idea what you are talking about. You could do two things. You could put a comma instead of a semi-colon, and the rule would be a comma for emphasis. Or, you could change it to a complete sentence like "they would be doing the jobs no American will want to do." Then, you could keep the semi-colon.

joselopezyoo said...

thank you

thuytarded said...

I feel the need to rush in my writing but not im my speaking. As I was reading those sentences out loud I paused in the right places but then again only if speaking was completely like writing.

Adrian said...

Alright let me try.

I like the way J Cole raps; he is vicious.

Missed Periods said...



Jessica said...

Enjoy the great explanation of two independent sentences and understanding whether they NEED to be on my own orrrrrrrrrrr they need to be together, in which they will have a semi colon. But this is where I am confused. I thought semi-colon's were used when there are other comma's in the sentence and the colon was used when there are two complete sentences....uh oh. Did I just butcher all my reading. Maybe you can clear this up, oh so wise Grammar Queen. :)

Jessica said...

HOLD IT!!!! I went back over them and now I got it. The colon is used to separate two independent sentences. For example.....I had to go to the store today: I was out of eggs. The semi-colon is used to separate phrases that have commas in them. For example..... I like to go to; Disneyland, for the rides; the mall, for the shops; and the beach, for tanning and fun in the sun. Did I put those together correctly?

Jessica said...

Nevermind. I just read over it again and I lost it. At the end of this entry, you used this sentence:

I almost cried when Samantha broke up with Jared; he was so hot.

I am confused because I thought a colon was needing to be in this spot and the semi-colon was used when there is a list with commas already being used. I am sorry for all these entries but I do want to understand the difference and I want to use them right.

MelissaGaytan said...

Okay, I was about to let you know that I didnt think I was confused about a semi-colon but now that I read the comment above me. I think I am. I too would like to understand a lot better please. :)

Missed Periods said...

Hi Jessica and Melissa,

First of all, Jessica, you are correct: you can use a semicolon when there is a list in which commas are already used. (That's one of its purposes.) Its other purpose is to hold together two complete sentences. It doesn't happen too often, but sometimes, we write two sentences that really closely relate to each other and we feel that putting a period between them is too much separation. Here's an example:

I liked the movie; it was funny.

Now, the difference between using a semicolon and a colon is that we use a colon when we are announcing or introducing something. There must be a complete sentence only BEFORE the colon. There must be a complete sentence BEFORE and AFTER a semicolon. Here are a couple examples:

I'm going to need you to bring me a few things: a pineapple, a t-shirt and a marshmallow.

I have to tell you a secret: I have a crush on Justin Timberlake.

Read the post titled "American Libel" if you haven't already. That should help with semicolons too.

Let me know if you have any other questions.

mel0o_16 said...

Love how you used the Relationship idea and all, I think you not only just gave me advice on Run ons but my relationship issues as well :))
So thankk youuu for that lol