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Avoiding Faulty Sentences: Writing Skills Success Study Guide (page 3)

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Updated on Aug 25, 2011

Comma Splices

A comma splice is the last kind of sentence fault you will study today. It is actually a special type of run - on sentence in which a comma is used in place of a semicolon to join two independent clauses without a conjunction. A comma splice can be corrected by putting a semicolon in place of the comma or by adding a conjunction after the comma.

    Wrong:

      Henry lives across the street, he has been there for 25 years.

    Correct:

      Henry lives across the street; he has been there for 25 years.
      Henry lives across the street, and he has been there for 25 years.

    Wrong:

      Mary heads the search committee, John is the recorder.

    Correct:

      Mary heads the search committee; John is the recorder.
      Mary heads the search committee, and John is the recorder.

    Wrong:

      Sid gave demonstrations all summer long, he returned in the fall.

    Correct:

      Sid gave demonstrations all summer long; he returned in the fall.

      Sid gave demonstrations all summer long, but he returned in the fall.

Tip

Go back to the paragraph at the beginning of the lesson. Revise it to eliminate the sentence fragments, comma splices, and run-on sentences. As you read the morning paper or written material at work, look for sentence faults. If you find none, look for complete sentences that could be combined. Chances are, you'll find plenty of those in a newspaper. You can also find plenty of sentence faults, especially fragments, in advertisements. Practice writing complete sentences in any written work you are assigned.

Practice exercises for this concept can be found at Avoiding Faulty Sentences: Writing Skills Success Practice Exercises.

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