About Writing, Grammar

Splice It Good.

Grammar time, y’all. I chose this topic because I have seen it in some pieces I’ve read lately (including printed books 🤨), and I’ve found a few in a draft I’ve been working on…and I know better.

Comma splices. What are they and how to fix them?

Well, they’re the bane of writers, and when I was teaching, even the best students had one or two in an essay, especially if they were writing quickly.

Simply put: comma splices are two sentences stuck together with a comma, or to use loftier, more technical language, they are two independent clauses punctuated by a comma.

Example: Luis flirts with anything that moves, blondes, brunettes, and red-heads all get attention.

Let’s break it down.

This is easy to fix. The simplest is to add a period and capitalize the second clause.

Another way to handle this would be by using a semicolon to connect the two clauses. In this case, you do NOT capitalize the beginning of the second clause.

However, if you write fiction, this really isn’t a solution; it’s too academic for fiction. (<— See what I did there? I had two sentences I wanted to link closely, so I used a semicolon. That’s how it is done.)

But wait. How do I know if there are two INDEPENDENT clauses?

Short answer: each sentence has to have a SUBJECT and a VERB.

Long answer: that’s another post.

In the meantime, you can practice spotting and fixing comma splices and its cousin, the fused sentence, here. Don’t panic. A fused sentence is the same thing as a comma splice but without the comma. The writer simply runs two independent clauses together. (Is that a run-on sentence, you ask? Yes, but so is a comma splice. “Run on” is just a catch all for these types of sentences.)

Happy writing!

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