Comma Use and Misuse: The Comma Splice

A comma splice is probably the most common punctuation error out there.  It slips by a lot of good writers because it doesn't really obscure your meaning. If you read your sentence out loud, it sounds alright; however, a comma splice is a legitimate punctuation error that will distract your reader and undermine your credibility as a writer.

comma splice.jpeg

What is it?

A comma splice occurs when a writer joins two *independent clauses with only a comma.

Why is it incorrect?

A comma is not strong enough to hold two independent clauses together.

What does it look like?

It’s cold out there, you should wear your tuque.

Happy birthday, I hope you have a great day.

Here's that book I was telling you about, I think you'll really like it. 

 How can you fix it? 

1)      Add a *coordinating conjunction: It’s cold out there, so you should wear your tuque.

2)      Replace your comma with a period: It’s cold out there. You should wear a tuque.


*An independent clause is a complete sentence. It has a subject and a verb and makes sense by itself.

*You can remember coordinating conjunctions by using this acronym:  FANBOYS

For/ And/ Nor/ But/ Or/ Yet/ So