by Davy Kraken
A library featuring commonly committed errors of the English language.
|A comma splice occurs when two independent clauses are joined by nothing more than a comma. (For more information on clauses, see this entry: "Clauses" .) Comma splices can sometimes lead to great confusion for the reader, but they are very easy to remedy. Let’s take a look at some alternative possibilities for the following “sentence” featuring a comma splice.
I could eat a pineapple for hours, it’s my favorite fruit.
Each half is an independent clause capable of standing alone as a sentence, and separating this into two sentences is an easy and perfectly acceptable method to correct the comma splice:
I could eat a pineapple for hours. It’s my favorite fruit.
If the two clauses are closely related, however, then changing the comma to a semicolon might be preferable because it suggests a closer connection between the clauses:
I could eat a pineapple for hours; it’s my favorite fruit.
A third possibility is to use an appropriate coordinating conjunction after the comma:
I could eat a pineapple for hours, for it’s my favorite fruit.
Finally, you could make one of the clauses into a dependent clause:
I could eat a pineapple for hours because it’s my favorite fruit.
A fused sentence consists of two independent clauses joined by no punctuation at all:
I could eat a pineapple for hours it’s my favorite fruit.
This is an even more severe mistake than a comma splice, but the solutions for the two problems are the same. Some alternatives are better than others, so choose the one that best suits your particular pair of independent clauses.
On rare occasions, a colon may be most appropriate of all. (For more information on colons, see this entry: "Colons" .)