Comma splice

Comma splice definition: A comma splice is a term for a grammatical error that occurs when two main clauses are joined with only a comma.

What is a Comma Splice?

A comma splice is a grammatical error and a misuse of the comma. It occurs when two main (or independent) clauses are incorrectly combined using only a comma.

Two independent clauses cannot be joined without a proper conjunction or without proper punctuation.

Comma Splice Examples

  • We went to the store, we bought apples.
    • This example has two independent clauses, one on each side of the comma. This sentence needs a comma with a conjunction or a semicolon to be grammatically correct.
  • The cat needs food, he is hungry.
    • Again, this example has two independent clauses. In order to be grammatically correct, this sentence needs to be split into two or a conjunction needs to be added.

A comma splice also creates a run-on sentence.

How to Fix a Comma Splice

Comma Splice

  • Let’s use the above example to show how to fix comma splices.
  • How to Fix a Comma Splice Sentence:
  • There are three ways to fix a comma splice.
  1. Create two independent clauses.
    1. Incorrect: We went to the store, we bought apples.
    2. Correct: We went to the store. We bought apples.
  1. Change the comma to a semicolon.
    1. Incorrect: We went to the store, we bought apples.
    2. Correct: We went to the store; we bought apples.
  1. Leave the comma and add a conjunction.
    1. Incorrect: We went to the store, we bought apples.
    2. Correct: We went to the store, and we bought apples.
      1. This kind of conjunction is known as a coordination conjunction.

NOTE: Only use a semicolon if the sentences are of equal length and of equal importance.

Other Types of Run-Ons

Comma SpliceWhat is a run-on sentence? Run-on sentences are sentences in need of some grammatical correction. They contain more than one independent clause joined incorrectly.

1.) Comma Splice

As we have gone over in this article, a comma splice is one type of run-on sentence. Other errors can create run-on sentences, as well.

2.) Joining sentences with however, moreover, etc.

When joining main clauses with one of the above words, the clauses must be separated into two sentences or a semicolon must be used.

  • Incorrect: We went to the store, however, we could not find apples.
  • Correct: We went to the store; however, we could not find apples.
  • Correct: We went the store. However, we could not find apples.

3.) Fused Sentences

What is a fused sentence? A fused sentence is a sentence that contains two main clauses but lacks a punctuation mark or a conjunction to join them.

  • Incorrect: We went to the store we bought apples.
  • Correct: We went to the store; we bought apples.
  • Correct: We went the store, and we bought apples.
  • Correct: We went to the store. We bought apples.

How to Avoid Run-ons, Comma splices

Comma Splice

Long sentences might actually be beautifully written. Sentences with subordinate clauses often lend themselves to lengthier structures. They are not run-on sentences because they have a dependent clause—they may even have more than one dependent clause. However, they only contain one independent clause.

In order to avoid grammatical errors such as run-on sentences (including comma splices), a writer first has to know how to properly punctuate complete sentences. This is easier said than done.

Foremost, a writer should not join two independent clauses unless he is sure he is doing so correctly.

Summary: What’s a Comma Splice?

Define comma splice: the definition of comma splice is two or more independent clauses joined solely by a comma.

In summary, a comma splice:

  • is incorrect grammar
  • a type of run-on sentence
  • must be corrected in professional writing

Run-ons & Comma Splices | Ashford Writing Center

The run-on sentence and comma splice are common punctuation errors that can create confusion in your writing.  

Run-on sentence

A run-on sentence occurs when two or more complete sentences (independent clauses) are joined with no punctuation. Here's an example:

Joseph Cornell was an innovative American artist known for his shadow boxes and collages his art became more famous after his death in 1972.

Comma splice

A comma splice occurs when two or more complete sentences are joined only with a comma, which is not strong enough punctuation.  This is an example of a comma splice:

Joseph Cornell was an innovative American artist known for his shadow boxes and collages, his art became more famous after his death in 1972.

Five Ways to Fix a Run-on or Comma Splice

  1. Add a period and a capital letter to separate the sentences.
    • Joseph Cornell was an innovative American artist known for his shadow boxes and collages. His art became more famous after his death in 1972.
  2. Add a comma and a coordinating conjunction.  Coordinating conjunctions are easy to remember as F.A.N.B.O.Y.S.—for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so.
    • Joseph Cornell was an innovative American artist known for his shadow boxes and collages, but his art became more famous after his death in 1972.
  3. Add a semicolon if the sentences are closely related.
    • Joseph Cornell was an innovative American artist known for his shadow boxes and collages; his art became more famous after his death in 1972.
  4. Add a semicolon and a conjunctive adverb—also known as a “transitional word”. When using a transitional word, the comma should be placed immediately after the transition. 
    • Joseph Cornell was an innovative American artist known for his shadow boxes and collages; however, his art became more famous after his death in 1972.  
    • Common Transitional Words:Comma Splice
  5. Add a subordinating conjunction—also known as a “dependent word”—to the beginning or the middle of the sentence.
    • Even though Joseph Cornell was an innovative American artist known for his shadow boxes and collages, his artwork became more famous after his death in 1972.
      • In the example above, the comma stays when the conjunction “even though” is added to the beginning of the sentence.
    • Joseph Cornell was an innovative American artist because he used objects and items most people would throw away in his work.
      • In this example, the comma is removed when the conjunction “because” is added to the middle of the sentence.
    • Common Subordinating Conjunctions:Comma Splice

Comma Splice

  • When you join two independent clauses with a comma and no conjunction, it’s called a comma splice. Some people consider this a type of run-on sentence, while other people think of it as a punctuation error.
  • Here’s an example of a comma splice: Koala bears are not actually bears, they are marsupials.
  • There are three ways to fix a comma splice. You can add a conjunction, change the comma to a semicolon, or make each independent clause its own sentence.

Here’s a tip:  Commas can be tricky, but they don’t have to trip you up. Grammarly’s writing assistant can help you make sure your punctuation, spelling, and grammar are tip-top on all your favorite websites. Try Grammarly for free.

  Comma Splice

What Is a Comma Splice?

A comma splice is particular kind of comma mistake that happens when you use a comma to join two independent clauses. Here’s an example:

Koala bears are not actually bears, they are marsupials.

How can you tell that’s a comma splice? Look at the group of words before the comma.

Koala bears are not actually bears

Did you notice that this group of words can stand by itself as a complete sentence? That means it’s an independent clause.

Now look at the group of words after the comma.

This group of words can also stand by itself as a complete sentence. It’s another independent clause.

When you have two independent clauses, a comma is not strong enough to glue them together.

How to Fix a Comma Splice

There are three common ways to fix a comma splice. Let’s look at a new example:

I am not angry with you, I am not happy with you, either.

Fix #1: Add a Conjunction

One way to fix a comma splice is to add a conjunction immediately after the comma. With most comma splices, the conjunction you’ll want to add is probably and, but, or so.

I am not angry with you, but I am not happy with you, either.

Fix #2: Change the Comma to a Semicolon

Comma Splice

I decided to write about comma splices because my friend Scott Sigler has a book coming out this week, Ancestor, published by Crown. Over three years ago, when he was publishing an earlier version of the book with a smaller publisher, he asked me to read it for him and be as brutal as possible with my comments. The biggest problem I found was comma splices.

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How to Use Commas

Commas are tricky because there are so many different ways you can use them, but one of the most common ways to use commas is to separate two main clauses that are connected by a coordinating conjunction. That just means that when you join two things that could be sentences on their own with a word such as “and,” “but,” or “or,” you need a comma before the conjunction:

Squiggly ran to the forest, and Aardvark chased the peeves.

Squiggly ran to the forest is a complete sentence, and Aardvark chased the peeves is also a complete sentence. To join them with a comma, you need the word “and” or some other coordinating conjunction. If you just put a comma between them, that's an error called a comma splice or a comma fault:

Squiggly ran to the forest, Aardvark chased the peeves. (wrong)

What Is a Comma Splice?

  • Comma splices seem to be Scott Sigler's biggest problem. Here's an example from page 114 of the original Ancestor book, where one of the characters is talking about a cow named Fonzie:
  • Sara obviously named that one, she was a sucker for those old “Happy Days” reruns. (wrong)
  • It's easy to see in that example why the error is called a comma splice: it's because the comma is used to splice together two complete sentences when that isn't the function of a comma.
  • Commas aren't meant to join main clauses all by themselves; to force them into that role is to perpetrate a comma splice.

The good news is that it's easy to fix a comma splice once you're aware of the problem. Because the two clauses are complete sentences, you can treat them that way and use a period where you had a comma.

Sara obviously named that one. She was a sucker for those old “Happy Days” reruns.

It's a period's job to separate complete sentences.

Pages

Run-on Sentences and Comma Splices – TIP Sheets – Butte College

RUN-ON SENTENCES AND COMMA SPLICES

Run-on sentences can be divided into two types. The first occurs when a writer puts no mark of punctuation and no coordinating conjunction between independent clauses. The second is called a comma splice, which occurs when two or more independent clauses are joined by just a comma and no coordinating conjunction.

  • Example of a run-on sentence:
  • The flowers are beautiful they brighten the room. (Incorrect)
  • Example of a comma splice:
  • The flowers are beautiful, they brighten the room. (Incorrect)
  • Examples of correct alternatives:

The flowers are beautiful. They brighten the room.The flowers are beautiful; they brighten the room.The flowers are beautiful, and they brighten the room.

The flowers are beautiful because they brighten the room.

A run-on sentence is not defined by its length! The fact that a sentence is very long does not automatically make it a run-on sentence. As you will see, the sentence structure and use of punctuation determine whether a sentence is a run-on.

In order to better understand run-on sentences and comma splices, it is important to review the basics of writing a grammatically correct simple sentence:

A simple sentence is made up of only one independent clause. An independent clause is a group of words that contains a subject and a predicate and forms a complete thought when standing alone. The subject refers to someone or something (the subject contains at least one noun or pronoun). The predicate refers to what the subject does or is (the predicate contains the verb or verbs). Both the subject and predicate can contain additional descriptive elements, such as adverbs, adjectives, prepositions, or other modifying phrases, but in its most basic form the subject is the part of the sentence that contains the noun, and the predicate contains the verb.

A sentence can be complete and correct with one basic independent clause made up of one subject plus its corresponding predicate. To demonstrate the basic structure of a simple sentence, find the noun that forms the subject and divide it from the verb.

Subject Predicate Sentence
I am. I am.
The man studied. The man studied.
A frog jumped. A frog jumped.
Lola sings. Lola sings.

By dividing the noun and verb, we can add modifiers to a simple sentence and still see the two basic parts, the subject and the predicate.

Subject Predicate
The man studied.
The kind man studied hard.
The kind man at the library studied hard for the test on Friday.

When looking at the structure of an independent clause, it is helpful to think of all elements of the subject separately from all elements of the predicate. Together the subject and predicate form the two basic and separate parts of each clause.

Subject Predicate
The kind man and his wife studied hard for the test and read a book.
The man, his wife, and their child studied hard, read books, and ate dinner.

If the independent clause forms a complete thought, a period at the end demonstrates that the sentence is complete. The period means STOP. The sentence has ended, and a new sentence will begin.

Run-ons and comma splices occur when more than one subject/predicate pair exists in the sentence. When one subject/predicate pair is followed by an additional subject/predicate pair within one sentence (forming separate independent clauses), they need to be separated (or joined) according to very specific rules of punctuation and grammar.

  1. Look at the following example of a run-on sentence:
  2. The kind man studied hard his wife read a book. (Incorrect)
  3. If we divide the sentence into subject/predicate pairs (each an independent clause), we see that two independent clauses exist, one following the other:
First independent clause Second independent clause
Subject Predicate Subject Predicate
The kind man studied hard his wife read a book.

Without the correct separation, the two independent clauses written together form a run-on sentence. Once you can identify a run-on sentence by its incorrect structure, it is not hard to find a way to correct it.

When two independent clauses appear in one sentence, they must be joined (or separated) in one of four ways:

1. The two clauses can be made into two separate sentences by adding a period.

2. The two clauses can be joined by a comma and a coordinating conjunction (comma plus: and, but, or, nor, for, so, yet).

3. The two clauses can be joined by a semicolon.

4. The two clauses can be rewritten by adding, changing, rearranging, or deleting words. The simplest way to accomplish this is to add a subordinating conjunction between the clauses.

Notice that joining the independent clauses by a comma alone is NOT a choice. When two independent clauses are joined by only a comma, this error is called a comma splice.

The table below demonstrates the four correct options. When two independent clauses appear in a sentence, try to imagine a middle column in which only four possibilities exist to join the two clauses:

First independent clause Second independent clause
Subject Predicate 4 CORRECTOPTIONS Subject Predicate
The kind man studied hard . (period) His wife read a book.
The kind man studied hard , and, but, or, for, nor, so, yet(comma plus a coordinating conjunction) his wife read a book.
The kind man studied hard ; (semicolon) his wife read a book.
The kind man studied hard whileafterasbecause . . .(examples of subordinating conjunctions – no comma required) his wife read a book.
  • Please note again that in the above examples a comma alone is NOT one of the correct options.
  • The kind man studied hard, his wife read a book. (Incorrect)
  • A comma alone between two independent clauses creates an incorrect comma splice.
  • Summary (Including Related Grammar Rules)

1. An independent clause contains one subject/predicate pair and expresses a complete thought.

Music makes my life worth living.

See also:  Pronoun order
Subject Predicate
Music makes my life worth living.

2. A simple sentence is made up of only one independent clause:

Music makes my life worth living.

3. A run-on sentence is made up of two or more independent clauses that are not joined correctly or which should be made into separate sentences. A run-on sentence is defined by its grammatical structure, not its length.

Incorrect: My favorite band is in town they are performing now.Correct: My favorite band is in town. They are performing now.Correct: My favorite band is in town, and they are performing now.

4. A comma splice is the incorrect use of a comma to join two independent clauses.

Incorrect: I love classical music, it makes me feel joyful.Correct: I love classical music because it makes me feel joyful.Correct: I love classical music; it makes me feel joyful.

5. A compound sentence contains two or more independent clauses that are correctly joined by a comma plus a coordinating conjunction or by a semicolon:

Music means a lot to me, and certain songs bring wonderful memories to mind.

First independent clause Second independent clause
Subject Predicate Comma and coordinating conjunction Subject Predicate
Music means a lot to me , and certain songs bring wonderful memories to mind.

Music means a lot to me; certain songs bring wonderful memories to mind.

First independent clause Second independent clause
Subject Predicate Semicolon Subject Predicate
Music means a lot to me ; certain songs bring wonderful memories to mind.

6. A comma plus a coordinating conjunction can connect independent clauses correctly. There are seven coordinating conjunctions (sometimes remembered by the acronym “fanboys”):

for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so

7. A complex sentence contains one independent clause and one or more dependent clauses. The dependent clause begins with a subordinating conjunction:

I always think of summer whenever they play that song.

First independent clause Second independent clause
Subject Predicate Subordinating conjunction Subject Predicate
I always think of summer whenever they play that song.

8. A subordinating conjunction connects a dependent clause to an independent clause. The dependent clause cannot stand alone; it requires attachment to an independent clause in order to express the complete meaning of the sentence. The following are examples of some of the most common subordinating conjunctions:

  1. after, although, as, as if, because, before, even though, if, in order that, rather than, since, so that, than, that, though, unless, until, when, whenever, where, wherever, whether, while
  2. For more information, please see the following TIP Sheets:
  3. Independent and Dependent Clauses: Coordination and SubordinationSentence Type and Purpose

Run-on Sentences, Comma Splices

If your computer is equipped with PowerPoint, click on the PowerPoint icon to the right for a brief PowerPoint presentation on Run-on Sentences. Click HERE to review Sentence Fragments. Click HERE for help with Powerpoint.

A RUN-ON SENTENCE (sometimes called a “fused sentence”) has at least two parts, either one of which can stand by itself (in other words, two independent clauses), but the two parts have been smooshed together instead of being properly connected.

Review, also, the section which describes Things That Can Happen Between Two Independent Clauses.

It is important to realize that the length of a sentence really has nothing to do with whether a sentence is a run-on or not; being a run-on is a structural flaw that can plague even a very short sentence:

The sun is high, put on some sunblock.

An extremely long sentence, on the other hand, might be a “run-off-at-the-mouth” sentence, but it can be otherwise sound, structurally. Click here to see a 239-word sentence that is a perfectly fine sentence (structurally)

When two independent clauses are connected by only a comma, they constitute a run-on sentence that is called a comma-splice. The example just above (about the sunscreen) is a comma-splice. When you use a comma to connect two independent clauses, it must be accompanied by a little conjunction (and, but, for, nor, yet, or, so).

The sun is high, so put on some sunscreen.

Run-on sentences happen typically under the following circumstances*:

What is a comma splice?

A comma splice happens when a comma inappropriately links two independent clauses.

She’s an outstanding student, she’ll go far.

The comma here may well represent how people say the two clauses out loud. However, in any formal or academic writing, to use it is incorrect; it is a mistake that can make your writing seem careless or amateurish.

Why ‘splice’?

If you splice something together, you join two things that were originally separate. The comma splice splices together two clauses that are each complete in their own right.

Examples and solutions

  • [In response to an email ‘I’ll get back to you tomorrow’]
  • That’s absolutely fine, thanks for the holding email!
  • There are two main reasons for avoiding Greece in the summer, [comma splice] it can be extremely hot, and popular locations can be wildly overcrowded.
  • There are four ways of avoiding the comma splice:
  • (1) Make the two clauses into separate sentences:

That’s absolutely fine. Thanks for the holding email!

There are two main reasons for avoiding Greece in the summer. It can be extremely hot, and popular locations can be wildly overcrowded.

This solution generally works best when the two clauses are of a certain length. As two sentences, the first example sounds a bit terse or even brusque. Making the second example two separate sentences weakens the obvious link between them.

  1. (2) Use a conjunction such as and or but, or as, because, so, if there is a causal connection.
  2. This works well when the meaning of the second clause only loosely relates to the first:
  3. That’s absolutely fine and thanks for the holding email!
  4. For our second example, it doesn’t work very well, since what follows the first comma is not the cause of what is said in the first clause.
  5. X There are two main reasons for avoiding Greece in the summer, because it can be extremely hot, and popular locations can be wildly overcrowded.
  6. (3) Use a semicolon (;)
  7. It links these two clauses elegantly and simply:
  8. That’s absolutely fine; thanks for the holding email!
  9. One of the main functions of the semicolon is to divide two closely related clauses that balance each other (often each contains a finite verb). So, the second example could be re-punctuated as:
  10. There are two main reasons for avoiding Greece in the summer; it can be extremely hot, and popular locations can be wildly overcrowded.
  11. (4) Use a colon (:)
  12. One of the colon’s principal functions is to present the part of the sentence following it as an explanation, expansion, or result of what comes before it. It works very nicely for our second example:
  13. There are two main reasons for avoiding Greece in the summer: it can be extremely hot, and popular locations can be wildly overcrowded.

Test yourself

Which of these sentences contains a comma splice?

  1. After I finished my breakfast, I decided to go for a stroll.
  2. I love avocados, they’re my favourite starter.
  3. I couldn’t afford the model of car I really wanted, so I bought the next one down in the range.
  4. Oxford can get bitterly cold in winter, it surprises some people.

Improve Your Writing

The comma splice is one of the most frequent mistakes made when using a comma. The comma splice occurs when a comma is used to connect two independent clauses.

In this example the two clauses make sense on their own. Connecting them with a comma is incorrect

Jim usually gets on with everybody, he is an understanding person.

.

Have a go at this question.

1 Tick the sentences showing the comma splice.

If you have two independent clauses that need to be separated, you have several choices:

You can make them into two sentences using a full stop. This is probably the easiest solution but may not be the best in terms of style or developing your argument.

Jim usually gets on with everybody. He is an understanding person.

You can use a semicolon. Semicolons should not be overused but can be very powerful when used in the correct situations. In our example, using a semi-colon suggests a link between the two clauses without stating that link specifically. This can be a powerful tool in developing a convincing argument.

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Jim usually gets on with everybody; he is an understanding person.

You can introduce a conjunction to connect the sentences. By doing this, you make the connection between the two more explicit.

Jim usually gets on with everybody because he is an understanding person.

Jim usually gets on with everybody, as he is an understanding person.

Test your understanding of the comma splice with this exercise.

Comma Splice Examples

A comma splice is a common grammatical error in English. Writers most often make this mistake when they are trying to “write by ear.” It's a common idea that a comma indicates a pause where a reader or speaker should take a breath, but simply adding commas when you feel a break is needed is not a reliable way to make sure you're punctuating your sentences correctly.

A comma splice is when two independent clauses are incorrectly joined by a comma to make one sentence. To avoid comma splices, you first need to be able to identify an independent clause.

An independent clause is a complete sentence that can stand on its own grammatically. To be a complete sentence, the clause must have both a subject and a verb. For example:

I went to the mall.

This is an independent clause because it has both a subject (“I”) and a verb (“went”). This forms a complete sentence.

Not all clauses with a subject and a verb can stand alone, however. A dependent clause often begins with a word that is meant to connect it to another sentence and cannot stand alone as a complete sentence. For example:

When I went to the mall

Because “when” is added to the clause, it is no longer a complete sentence on its own. This dependent clause would need to be connected to another clause to make it a complete sentence.

It is incorrect to join two independent clauses with a comma. This error is called a comma splice. For example:

I went to the mall, Jane was there.

“I went to the mall” is an independent clause that can stand alone as its own sentence. “Jane was there” is also an independent clause. It is grammatically incorrect to link these two sentences with a comma.

There are three ways to fix a comma splice. First, you can split the part before the comma and the part after the comma into two complete sentences with a period (you could also use a semi-colon for a less defined split). Here's how to fix our example from above:

I went to the mall. Jane was there.

  • Second, you can join two independent clauses by adding a coordinating conjunction such as “and” after the comma. For example:
  • I went to the mall, and Jane was there.
  • Finally, you can change one of the independent clauses to a dependent clause by adding a subordinating conjunction. For example:
  • When I went to the mall, Jane was there.
  • I went to the mall because Jane was there.

Note that if your dependent clause comes first, you must use a comma to join the two clauses. If your dependent clause is second, no comma is required.

Examples of Comma Splices and Corrections

Check your understanding of comma splices by studying the examples and corrections below.

Correcting by Making Two Sentences

Error Correction
I love going to the movies, it's so fun. I love going to the movies. It's so fun.
She took the boy's cookies away, that was mean. She took the boy's cookies away. That was mean.
The teacher was angry, the students were too loud. The teacher was angry. The students were too loud.
I think he's in love, he acts so weird now. I think he's in love. He acts so weird now.
She was sad when the cat ran away, she doesn't want to get a new one. She was sad when the cat ran away. She doesn't want to get a new one.
We went to the store, we bought milk. We went the to the store. We bought milk.
I often walk the dogs on the beach, they love splashing in the waves. I often walk the dogs on the beach. They love splashing in the waves.
I can't wait to go on vacation, it will be hot and sunny. I can't wait to go on vacation. It will be hot and sunny.

Correcting by Using Coordinating Conjunctions

Error Correction
I love going to the movies, it's so fun. I love going to the movies, for it's so fun.
She took the boy's cookies away, that was mean. She took the boy's cookies away and that was mean.
The teacher was angry, the students were too loud. The teacher was angry, for the students were too loud.
I think he's in love, he acts so weird now. I think he's in love, for he acts so weird now.
She was sad when the cat ran away, she doesn't want to get a new one. She was sad when the cat ran away, but she doesn't want to get a new one.
We went to the store, we bought milk. We went the to the store and we bought milk.
I often walk the dogs on the beach, they love splashing in the waves. I often walk the dogs on the beach, for they love splashing in the waves.
I can't wait to go on vacation, it will be hot and sunny. I can't wait to go on vacation, for it will be hot and sunny.

Correcting by Creating a Dependent Clause

Error Correction
I love going to the movies, it's so fun. I love going to the movies because it's so fun.
She took the boy's cookies away, that was mean. When she took the boy's cookies away, that was mean.
The teacher was angry, the students were too loud. The teacher was angry because the students were too loud.
I think he's in love, he acts so weird now. I think he's in love because he acts so weird now.
She was sad when the cat ran away, she doesn't want to get a new one. Even though she was sad when the cat ran away, she doesn't want to get a new one.
We went to the store, we bought milk. We went the to the store where we bought milk.
I often walk the dogs on the beach, they love splashing in the waves. I often walk the dogs on the beach since they love splashing in the waves.
I can't wait to go on vacation, it will be hot and sunny. I can't wait to go on vacation as it will be hot and sunny.

Strong Sentences

Once you get used to asking yourself if the two parts of your sentence can stand alone as independent clauses, you'll be able to correct comma splices in your writing with ease.

To add interest to your written work, try varying the way you correct a comma splice so your sentences don't all sound the same.

When you master this trick, your English grammar will automatically improve.

Comma Splice – NIU – Effective Writing Practices Tutorial

When two complete sentences are joined by a comma, and there is no conjunction present, we get a comma splice.

Incorrect: She decided not to contribute to the project anymore, she had done her share of the work.

Correcting the Problem

  • These are closely related sentences, but each of them completes a thought; therefore, they either need a period, a semicolon, or a comma with a conjunction between them.

A comma splice occurs when two complete sentences are joined by a comma, and there is no conjunction present.

Correct: She decided not to contribute to the project anymore. She had done her share of the work.
Correct: She decided not to contribute to the project anymore; she had done her share of the work.

– a period between two complete sentences

Incorrect: A Minneapolis bridge collapsed last night, several people were reported missing.
Correct: A Minneapolis bridge collapsed last night. Several people were reported missing.

– a semicolon between two complete sentences

Incorrect: I got up late this morning, I missed my interview. I was having a terrible day!
Correct: I got up late this morning; I missed my interview. I was having a terrible day!

– a conjunction (either coordinating or subordinating)

Incorrect:

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