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Rams Write: Comma Splices

Here you'll find a student-generated guide to writing and composition.

Introduction

Comma splices are common errors. They happen when one uses a comma to join two independent clauses. These clauses should instead be linked by a semicolon, or split apart into two complete sentences.

 

Using a Comma Properly

Commas are used to connect:

  • two dependent clauses

  • an independent clause and a dependent clause 

Commas are NOT used to connect:

  • two independent clauses

To correct comma splices:

  • Use a period to separate one sentence into two.
  • Use a semi-colon instead of a comma in order to combine two independent clauses.
  • Keep the comma, but add a conjunction after the comma (for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so). 
  • Use a dash to separate or join the clauses.
  • Change one dependent clause into an independent clause.

Proper use of commas

More Examples

Example 1

Incorrect: The sun is out, we have to put on some sunscreen.

 

Correct: The sun is out. We have to put on some sunscreen.

Explanation: The incorrect example links two independent clauses connected by a comma. We fixed the comma splice by creating two separate sentences.

Example 2

Incorrect: I’m thinking of skipping English class, it’s really boring.

Correct: I’m thinking of skipping English class; it’s really boring.

 

Explanation: We are allowed to use a semicolon or period in order to separate two independent clauses, but not a comma. We corrected the error by using a semicolon.

 

Example 3

Incorrect: It’s Saturday night, let’s go out and party.

Correct: It’s Saturday night. Let’s go out and party.

 

Explanation: A comma should only be used if there is a dependent clause. If you can make two complete sentences, you don't need a comma.

 

Examples

Example 1

Incorrect: I went to the mall, Jane was there.

Correct: I went to the mall. Jane was there.

Explanation: The first example was wrong because "I went to the mall" and "Jane was there" are both independent clauses, so it is grammatically incorrect to link these two sentences together with a comma. 

We can fix this by making "I went to the mall" and "Jane was there" into two different sentences.

Example 2

Fixing comma splices with a coordinating conjunction 

Incorrect : I went to the mall, Jane was there.

Correct: I went to the mall, and Jane was there.

ExplanationYou can join two independent clauses together by adding a coordinating conjunction after the comma like "and." 

Example 3

Fixing comma splices with a subordinating conjunction 

Incorrect: I went to the mall, Jane was there.

Correct: When I went to the mall, Jane was there. OR I went to the mall because Jane was there. 

Explanation: By adding a subordinating conjunction, you are turning one of your independent clauses into a dependent clause. 

(Note: 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.)

This page was created by/ MLA Citations:

Spring 2019

 Fiona Ferguson, Framingham State U, Class of 2022

 Austin van Lingen, Framingham State U, Class of 2022

 Trevor Gallagher, Framingham State U, Class of 2022

 Giovanni A. Green, Framingham State U, Class of 2021

 

Works Cited

"Be Like Bill." imgflip, imgflip.com/i/yjz8u.

Hill, Beth. ​"Comma Splice - A Common Mistake." The Editors Blog, 3 January, 2011, theeditorsblog.net/2011/01/03/comma-splice-a-common-writing-mistake/.

Imagine Easy Solutions. "Comma Splices Explained." ​YouTube,​ uploaded by Imagine Easy Solutions, 8 August, 2014, www.youtube.com/results?search_query=comma+splices+explained+.

Jackson, Kenna. "10 Comma Rules." Owlcation. 8 February 2018, owlcation.com/academia/10-Grammar-and-Tips.

Literacy & Math Ideas. "Free -- When to Use a Comma Reference Chart." Literacy & Math Ideas, 15 September 2014, literacymathideas.blogspot.com/2014/09/free-when-to-use-comma-reference-chart.html.

Meme Generator. "You Must Never go there Simba." Meme Generator, 18 March, 2014, memegenerator.net/instance/47364305/you-must-never-go-there-simba-whats-that-shadowy-place-comma-splices-you-must-never-go-there-simba

Oweida, Steven. "The Alien's Grammar Guide: Fixing a Comma Splice." A Killer Blog from Outer Space. 20 February 2017. akillerblogfromouterspaceblog.wordpress.com/2017/02/20/the-aliens-grammar-guide-fixing-a-comma-splice/.

Tobasso, Gina. "Grammar tips: Run-ons, comma splices, fused sentences." HGR Industrial Surplus20. 11 August, 2017. hgrinc.com/tag/comma-splice/.

Yuniversity. ​"Is It Grammar Time Yet?" The Yuniversity, theyuniversity.tumblr.com/post/161788252644/whats-up-with-comma-splices.