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Osceola Writing Center

Comma Splices

Comma splices are probably one of the most seen errors in student writing. However, these errors are very easy to fix once you know what to look for.

Comma Splices

 

What is it?

A comma splice occurs when two independent clauses are joined with only a comma.

Example:

I drove to the park yesterday
,
I also played soccer.
 

Independent Clauses

To be able to identify comma splices, it's first necessary to understand what an independent clause is. An independent clause, in its most basic form, is a subject + a verb that can stand alone (if you put a period at the end, it's a complete sentence).

Make sure to remember that independent clauses can be as short as two words. It's not about the length of the sentence, but whether an appropriate subject and verb are present ("I eat." is technically a complete sentence).

How to Fix

First, you must make sure that you are dealing with a comma splice. If you think you have a comma splice, just replace the comma with a period. If both clauses before and after the comma can be sentences by themselves, then you have a comma splice.

If you have a comma splice, you can replace the comma with:

  • a period
  • a semicolon (if the 2 clauses are closely related in content)
  • a comma with one of the "fanboys" (for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so)

You may be able to choose from several, or even all three, of the options above to use to fix the comma splice (while there may be some cases where one is preferred over another, you will almost always have more than one option that will work).

 

Exercises

 

 
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