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Tutorial for Comma Splices
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What are they?

A comma splice occurs when two or more independent clauses are joined with a comma but without a coordinating conjunction (such as and, or, nor, for, but, so, yet).

How to find them

A comma splice occurs when a comma separates two independent clauses.

independent clauseindependent clause

A typical magic act includes tricks and illusions, both depend on deception.

Another type of comma splice occurs when a word other than a coordinating conjunction is used with a comma to join two or more independent clauses.

independent clauseindependent clause

A typical magic act includes tricks and illusions, however, both depend on deception.

(However is a conjunctive adverb, not a coordinating conjunction.)

How to correct them

There are four basic ways to correct a comma splice. Choose the method that best fits your sentence or intended meaning.

  1. Revise by creating two separate sentences. Make sure each independent clause has the appropriate end punctuation mark—a period, a question mark, or (on rare occasions) an exclamation mark.

    To evaluate a charity, you should start by examining its goals, then. Then you should investigate its management practices.

    (The comma splice is revised by replacing the comma with a period.)

  2. Revise by joining the clauses with a semicolon (;). When the independent clauses are closely connected in meaning, consider joining them with a semicolon. Note that a coordinating conjunction (such as and, or, or but) is not included when you revise with a semicolon.

    Studies have shown that male and female managers have different leadership styles,; as a result, workers may respond differently to each.

    (The semicolon joins the two clauses connected by the conjunctive adverb as a result. When two independent clauses are joined by a conjunctive adverb, a semicolon is needed.)

  3. Revise by joining the clauses with a comma and a coordinating conjunction. Two independent clauses can be joined by using both a comma and a coordinating conjunction (and, or, nor, but, for, so, yet). The coordinating conjunction indicates how the two clauses are related.

    Some educators support home schooling, but others oppose it vehemently.

    (The comma splice is revised by adding a comma and a coordinating conjunction.)

  4. Revise by making one clause dependent or by turning one clause into a phrase. You can correct a comma splice by adding a subordinating conjunction (such as because or although) to one of the independent clauses, thereby making it a dependent clause. The subordinating conjunction makes the thought incomplete and dependent on the independent clause.

    Although theAlthough the remote fishing lodge has no heat or electricity, it is a popular vacation spot.

    You can also correct a comma splice by changing one of the independent clauses to a phrase.

    Medieval peasants in Europe, with their had simple hearty diet, they relied almost totally on agriculture.

    (Revised by embedding a dependent clause within the sentence.)

    Note: A comma or commas may or may not be needed to separate a phrase from the rest of the sentence, depending on how the phrase affects the meaning of the sentence. See the Tutorial for comma usage.

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