Avoiding Comma Splices

A comma splice is a form of run-on or fused sentence. A comma splice is two sentences (two independent clauses) that are run together with only a comma to separate them.

Example:  The storm approached, the wind suddenly became cold.

Methods for correction of comma splices include the following:

  • Underline or circle the main clauses (independent clauses) in your paper.
  • When two main clauses fall in the same sentence, check the connection between them.
  • If nothing falls between the clauses or only a comma does, use one of the following to correct the error:
    • Add end punctuation at the end of the first main clause and begin the next main clause with a capital letter.
    • Use a comma and coordinating conjunction to join the main clauses.
    • Insert a semicolon to join the main clauses.
    • Insert a semicolon and conjunctive adverb to join the main clauses.
    • Make one of the ideas subordinate and use a subordinating conjunction to connect the subordinate idea to the main idea.

Examples
The storm approached. The wind suddenly became cold.
The storm approached, and the wind suddenly became cold.
The storm approached; the wind suddenly became cold.
The storm approached; in addition, the wind suddenly became cold.
As the storm approached, the wind suddenly became cold.

As you can see, you will need to use the method of correction that best makes your ideas and the relationships between them clear to the audience.

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