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Comma Splice


What is a Comma Splice?

A comma splice is the use of comma to join two independent clauses where the clauses are not connected by a conjunction, semicolon or a period. When a writer has connected two main clauses with a comma alone, a comma splice is called a run-on. A main clause makes a complete thought.

comma_2A simple comma isn’t necessary to join such powerful clauses. In most cases the two clauses make sense of their own. It is incorrect to connect them with a comma.

When using a comma, comma splice is one of the most frequent mistakes. However all comma splices are not errors. What causes a comma splice is not the comma between the clauses but the absence of a coordinator. If one of the clauses can be turned into a subordinate clause a comma can be used. Thus there is a type of comma splice that is perfectly acceptable.


Fused Sentence

A fused sentence contains two main clauses illegally run together with no punctuation at all. It is almost the same error as comma splice but without a comma.

•    I woke up late this morning I didn’t have time for a cup of tea.

Fixing a comma splice

1.    Since they contain main clauses, a period or full stop can be given and then the second clause can begin with a capital letter.

•    Sanjay wears his Gap shirt, his buttons are torn.

To fix this: Sanjay wears his Gap shirt. His buttons are torn.

2.  A comma or a coordinating conjunction can be used


•    Sanjay wears his Gap shirt but his buttons are torn.

3. Use as semi colon. This is strong enough to join two main clauses.


•    Sanjay wears his Gap shirt; his buttons are torn.

4. Use a subordinate conjunction. Eg. After, although, until, unless, since, while, when


•    Sanjay wears his Gap shirt although his buttons are torn.


Examples of Comma splice

1.     We should go out for dinner this week, I know the right place.
2.    I shall bake the cake, you can do the icing.
3.    She was feeling sick, she didn’t have dinner.
4.    They worked hard through the night, by morning the work was complete.
5.    Nita is not only beautiful, she is also talented.
6.    Sheela helped Dan, then, for no apparent reason he was rude to her.
7.    Joe ran all the way to catch the bus, he missed it anyway.

What is the difference between comma splice and fused sentences?

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