Hello and Happy Easy Grammar Tips Wednesday!
Adrian J. Smith is a writer and editor who has a not-so-secret love of grammar. She’s always happy to provide useful grammar tips to help writers understand and remember some of those pesky writing rules that can trip us up.
Let’s bring on this week’s grammar tip!
Grammar Wednesday: COMMA SPLICE–Coordinating Conjunction
Our new grammatical issue to look at, for the next fews 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 a red marker to ALL my comma splices, and let me tell you, that was a lot. I stopped using commas after that for years!
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
1. “I kissed a girl, I liked it.”
“I kissed a girl, and I liked it.”
Adding the coordinating conjunction “and” to this run-on 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.
Adrian J. Smith has been writing nearly her entire life but publishing since 2013. With a focus on women loving women fiction, AJ jumps genres from action-packed police procedurals to the seedier life of vampires and witches to sweet romances with a May-December twist. She loves writing and reading about women in the midst of the ordinariness of life. Two of her novels, For by Grace and Memoir in the Making, received honorable mentions with the Rainbow Awards.
AJ currently lives in Cheyenne, WY, although she moves often and has lived all over the United States. She loves to travel to different countries and places. She currently plays the roles of author, wife, and mother to two rambunctious toddlers, occasional handy-woman. Connect with her on Facebook or on Twitter.