Comma Splices

Comma Splices

A comma splice is one of the most common writing errors. A comma splice incorrectly joins two complete ideas—that is, ideas that could stand alone as complete sentences (sometimes referred to as independent clauses)—with a comma but no conjunction. Here’s an example of a comma splice:

◊ I’ll meet you downtown at three o’clock, I need you to help me fill out an application.

Here are four ways to correct comma splice errors:

1. Write two separate sentences, making sure that each is complete:

◊ I’ll meet you downtown at three o’clock. I need you to help me fill out an application.

2. Join the two ideas with a semicolon if the ideas are closely related enough to belong in the same sentence.

◊ I’ll meet you downtown at three o’clock; I need you to help me fill out an application.

3. Use a comma and a coordinating conjunction* to join the ideas.

◊ I’ll meet you downtown at three o’clock, and I need you to help me fill out an application.

*Coordinating Conjunctions: FANBOYS, or

For

And

Nor

But

Or

Yet

So

4. Use a subordinating conjunction* to join the ideas.

◊ I’ll meet you downtown at three o’clock because I need you to help me fill out an application.

*Subordinating Conjunctions (some of them): after, although, as, as if, as though, because, before, even though, if, since, so that, though, unless, until, when, whenever, where, whereas, wherever, whether, while.

More Sentence-Level Writing
Run-on Sentences
Passive Voice
Titles—Quotations or Italics?