Generally, this is considered grammatically incorrect, and called a stylistic error. There are many examples of run-on sentences used as literary devices in literature. However, not all long sentences are run-on sentences, for it is quite acceptable to combine different related ideas into a compound sentence. Nevertheless, without using appropriate punctuation rules, a compound sentence becomes a run-on sentence.


How are they used as a literary device? What can you do with them? Unlike other literary devices like metaphors and allegory, it doesn't seem like run-on sentences can do much.

1 Answer 1


I would say that in dialog, a run on sentence can demonstrate the character's motor mouth or a lack of giving others a chance to get a word in. If you are quoting something someone said or wrote, it is acceptable to use their incorrect grammar rather than change it to match correct grammar. Using the "[sic]" tag at any erroneous grammar usage can denote that the poor grammar is not your choice but merely faithful replication of the quote statement. Sic is Latin for "just as" although many will erroneously claim it is an acronym for "Spelled in Copy" or "Said in Context".

  • I don't think I'd use [sic] in fiction, though (unless in a very specific circumstance, such as a character who's a journalist working on an article). Jul 7, 2021 at 9:21
  • @DM_with_secrets Again, as said, fiction it's permissible in dialog because you are capturing realistic speech.
    – hszmv
    Jul 7, 2021 at 13:02
  • 1
    Oh, I completely agree that using incorrect grammar in dialogue is fine - I just wouldn't mark it with [sic] Jul 8, 2021 at 8:20

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