Comma Splices

Learning Objectives:

  • Identify comma splices.
  • Correct comma splices.

LESSON
A comma spliceType of run-on sentence that occurs when two independent clauses (two complete sentences) are joined with a comma instead of a period, semicolon, or comma with a conjunction. is a type of run-on sentenceA grammatical error that occurs when a sentence has two or more independent clauses joined together incorrectly. that occurs when two independent clausesPart of a sentence that contains a subject and a predicate and can stand on its own as a complete sentence. Example independent clause: The boy ate the freshly picked apple with delight. The subject is the boy, the predicate is the verb ate, plus the modifiers the freshly picked apple with delight. are incorrectly joined with a comma.(,) A punctuation mark used to group and separate information in sentences. To fix a comma splice, you would need to use a semicolon (;) A punctuation mark used to connect major parts of sentences of equal grammatical rank. For example, semicolons are used to connect two independent clauses into one sentence.instead of a comma or a comma followed by a conjunctionPart of speech that joins two or more words, phrases, or clauses. Examples of conjunctions include: and, but, if, because.. You could also use a period to make the comma splice into two separate sentences.

This is an example of a comma splice:

I ran to the store, I bought Rocky Road ice cream.

This sentence is made up of two independent clauses separated by a comma, which makes it a comma splice. An independent clause is a group of words that can stand on its own as a complete sentence, meaning that it has a subjectIn grammar, a part of speech that refers to the “doer” in the sentence (who or what). A subject is usually a person, place or thing. and a predicatePart of a sentence or a clause that has a verb and any modifiers or objects. Example: The girl went for a walk. The subject is the girl. The predicate is went for a walk..

I ran to the store: independent clause (subject I + predicate ran to the store); I bought Rocky Road ice cream: independent clause (subject I + verb bought )

You can fix a comma splice error in much the same way that you can fix a run-on sentence:

Option 1: Add a coordinating conjunction (for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so) after the comma.

I ran to the store, and I bought Rocky Road ice cream.

Option 2: Replace the comma with a period and create two sentences.

I ran to the store. I bought Rocky Road ice cream.

Option 3: Replace the comma with a semicolon. Do not capitalize the word after the semicolon unless it is a proper nounThe name of a person place or thing. Proper nouns should be capitalized. Examples: person: George Washington; place: The White House; thing: The Washington Monument..

I ran to the store; I bought Rocky Road ice cream.

Option 4: If both independent clauses share the same subject, delete the subject in the second independent clause, and replace the comma with a conjunction.

I ran to the store and bought Rocky Road ice cream.

Option 5: Change one of the independent clauses into a dependent clausePart of a sentence that contains a subject and a verb but is unable to stand on its own because it is incomplete in some way. Example of a dependent clause: Because it was a freshly picked apple, the boy at it with delight. In this sentence, Because it was a freshly picked apple is a dependent clause. It has a subject (it) and a verb (was), but it cannot stand on its own without the second part of the sentence. by adding a subordinating conjunctionPart of speech that connects dependent clauses. A subordinating conjunction comes at the beginning of a dependent clause and shows the relationship between the clauses it connects. Examples of subordinating conjunctions include: after, if, while, unless. (because, although, while, and since are just a few). A dependent clause is a group of words that cannot stand on its own, meaning that it is missing a subject, a predicate (a verb plus any modifiersA word or phrase that changes or specifies the meaning of another word, usually the subject or the verb. Example: The red ball quickly bounced over the fence. The adjective red modifies the subject, the ball. Also, the adverb quickly modifies the verb bounced. explaining what the subject does), or both.

Afterran to the store, I bought Rocky Road ice cream.

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