Avoiding the Dreaded Comma Splice

Contributor: Linda Price. Lesson ID: 10087

The use of simple little commas can be confusing when they are used incorrectly. Avoiding the comma splice is simple! Find out what a comma splice is so you can avoid it and become a better writer!

categories

Writing

subject
English / Language Arts
learning style
Visual
personality style
Lion
Grade Level
Intermediate (3-5)
Lesson Type
Quick Query

Lesson Plan - Get It!

Audio:

Have you ever noticed how authors join two ideas together? Do you know how you can easily connect two sentences? Don't let that little comma slip into the wrong place! Learn how to avoid the dreaded comma splice so you can be a better writer!

Read the following sentences about food:

"My favorite food is lasagna, and I eat it often. When we go to a restaurant, I always order a salad, a small piece of lasagna, and a piece of tiramisu. I'm happy; my need for Italian food is satisfied!"

Now, look at the following examples of commas used to join sentences. Do you think the use of commas is correct? Why or why not?

  • My family likes to walk after we eat, we sometimes walk all the way to the park.
  • Last night we watched the football game, my team lost.

The sentences above show a comma splice, the incorrect use of a comma, to join two sentences together. A comma should not be used to separate two independent clauses unless a coordinating conjunction is also used.

To correct the sentences above, add a conjunction along with the comma, like this:

  • My family likes to walk after we eat, and we sometimes walk all the way to the park.
  • Last night we watched the football game, and my team lost.

Adding a coordinating conjunction following the comma is one way to correct a comma splice, but there are other ways to correct a poorly-placed comma. Check out these other solutions to the unwanted comma splice:

  1. Separate each sentence into two separate sentences:

  • My family likes to walk after we eat. We sometimes walk all the way to the park.
  • Last night we watched the football game. My team lost.
  1. If the sentences are closely related, they may be joined by a semicolon:

  • My family likes to walk after we eat; sometimes, we walk all the way to the park.
  • Last night we watched the football game; my team lost.
  1. Simply rewrite your sentence! You might use a part of speech called a subordinating conjunction:

  • After we eat dinner my family likes to walk, and, sometimes, we walk all the way to the park.
  • Last night we watched the football game while my team lost.

Check out this Kevin Brookhouser video for additional explanations and examples of Writing Felonies: Comma Splices:

 

Continue on to the Got It? section to police some sentences for the comma splice!

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