General Writing and Grammar Help/Run-on sentences.


Would you put a comma or semicolon between these two sentences?  
We are at a critical milestone, I cannot be more serious.  I'm thinking semicolon between it's two independent sentences not combined with a conjunction.  Your thoughts?

Thanks, Elaine, for your question. I hope you ask more.

By "these two sentences," I think you mean We are at a critical milestone, I cannot be more serious.

First of all, this is one sentence. A written sentence is any group of words beginning with a capital letter and ending with a period, with no period intervening.

However, that sentence as written is incorrect, because it consists of two independent clauses that are not connected by either a coordinating conjunction (and or or), or by a semicolon. That type of incorrect sentence is sometimes called a run-on sentence.  Correct would be

We are at a critical milestone; I cannot be more serious.

It would also be correct to say
We are at a critical milestone, and I cannot be more serious.

If any of the above is not entirely clear, please submit a follow-up question.  

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Richard Johnson


I can answer any question--usually the same day--on correct English grammar, usage, and (non-fiction) writing style, usually the same day, based on the American practice. All answers are explained, and I encourage follow-up.


I'm a retired editor and a lifelong student of this subject. My library includes a great many works to which I've referred through the years. I currently rely primarily on the sixteenth edition of The Chicago Manual of Style.

For over 30 years I edited the newsletter of my own organization, which had different names but was last known as

BA, Brooklyn College. Advanced studies in economics and political science.

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For many years a member of Mensa.

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