Grammar Wednesday: COMMA SPLICE–coordinating conjunction

Our new grammatical issue to look at, for the next five weeks or so, is the comma splice. Are you ready? This one has been the bane of my existence since my early college years. My prof would go through and take red marker to ALL my comma splices, and let me tell you, that was a lot. I stopped using commas after that for years! Now, people call me the comma-nazi.

WHAT IS A COMMA SPLICE?

Commas are a crazy thing to try and learn. Commonly, when in the process of learning how to punctuate commas and add them in, one learns to add them where they should not be.  Typically, one of these places is called a comma splice.  This is where there are two independent clauses smooshed together into one sentence only by a comma.  Now, commas are powerful things, don’t get me wrong. They’re like the dukes and duchesses’ of grammar.  But they do not belong in the chamber of the compound sentence.

Comma splices are typically hard to find, because there is still a natural pause in the sentence.  However, comma splices can easily become the bane of someone’s existence (a.k.a me for the past five or six years).

Here are some examples of comma splices.

1. “I kissed a girl, I liked it.”

2. She didn’t know what to say, she was stunned into silence.

3. “I didn’t know you could do that, you can do that?”

4. Adrian is writing a forum on comma splices, she is sitting in class.

Add a coordinating conjunction to the comma

Coordinating conjunctions are one of the easiest ways to solve a comma splice. The most common one used is “and.” However, there are others—for, or, but, yet, so, nor. An easy way to remember these is the acronym FANBOYS

F—for
A—and
N—nor
B—but
O—or
Y—yet
S—so

EXAMPLES:

1. “I kissed a girl, I liked it.”

RESOLUTION:

“I kissed a girl, and I liked it.”

Adding the coordinating conjunction “and” to this run-one or fused sentence allows the two independent clauses to be separated.  While a semi-colon, EM dash, or a new sentence would work to resolve the comma splice, we all know that Katy Perry did not sing those lyrics.  Also, as this is dialogue, there is a tendency to avoid using semi-colons.  Usually, within dialogue, there is a preference for any of the other options to resolve a comma splice.

Resolving comma splices are very stylistic for the author.  There is no real “right or wrong” answer when it comes to fixing the run-on sentence.  There are stylistic resolutions, and there are resolutions that make more sense or work better.

Advertisements

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Sera Rothe
    Mar 20, 2013 @ 20:22:48

    Thanks for this! It is a comfort to know that another feels comma anxiety.

    Reply

    • Adrian
      Mar 20, 2013 @ 20:57:38

      I had a lot of anxiety about commas and comma splices and well, anything grammatical for that matter! =P it went away once I better learned the grammatical rules, so hopefully that will be the case for you! But yeah, you’re not alone in the comma anxiety! Also, remember, that a LOT of commas are all stylistic preferences. So, you the writer/author have ultimate final decision on where they go.

      Reply

Tell me what you think. I wanna know!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: