Error 3: Comma Splices

Error 3: Comma Splices

(cs)

A comma splice is an error that occurs when two independent clauses are joined with only a comma.

  • Comma splice example: I ate raspberries, I developed a rash.

Notes on comma splices:

1. They are so common that many people think they are correct.

2. Frequently, the second clause will begin with a pronoun (he, she, they, etc.) or then.

  • Comma splice example: She ate raspberries, her lips were red.
  • Comma splice example: I ate raspberries, then I developed a rash.

3. Frequently, the second clause (sentence) will begin with a conjunctive adverb (transitional word or phrase).

  • Comma splice example: I ate raspberries, therefore, I developed a rash.
  • Comma splice example: I ate raspberries, however, she did not.

Checking for Comma Splices

1. Check to see if the sentence contains two or more independent clauses (sentences).

2. If the sentence contains two independent clauses, check the way the independent clauses are joined. There are three acceptable ways to connect independent clauses:

  • a comma plus a coordinating conjunction (for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so).
  • a semicolon
  • a colon

Correcting Comma Splices

There are several ways to correct comma splices:

  • Comma splice example: I ate raspberries, I developed a rash.

1. Use a period between the two independent clauses to create two sentences.

  • Example: I ate raspberries. I developed a rash.

2. Use a comma and a coordinating conjunction to create a compound sentence.

  • Example: I ate raspberries, so I developed a rash.

3. Use a semicolon to create a compound sentence.

  • Example: I ate raspberries; I developed a rash.

4. Use a semicolon and a conjunctive adverb to create a compound sentence.

  • Example: I ate raspberries; therefore, I developed a rash.

5. Use a colon between two sentences if the second sentence explains the first sentence.

  • Example: I ate raspberries, and I developed a rash: I am allergic to raspberries.

6. Use a subordinating conjunction and a dependent clause to create a complex sentence.

  • Example: Because I ate raspberries, I developed a rash.

Note: you use the same methods to correct fused sentences and comma splices because the only difference between a comma splice and a fused sentence is the comma.

Exercise

Please print this exercise, mark the correct answers, and check your work against the version with answers.

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