When is it appropriate to use a comma splice?


Quick Answer

In most forms of prescriptive English grammar, use of a comma splice is never appropriate. This type of grammatical error joins two independent clauses together with a comma, creating a construct similar to a run-on sentence. Some English language style guides consider comma splices acceptable, however, when used with similar short phrases or in poetic language.

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Full Answer

The are four methods of correcting a comma splice. In one, the two independent clauses are divided into separate sentences. Each clause is grammatically correct and can stand by itself, requiring strong punctuation to distinguish it from surrounding clauses.

Similarly, by replacing the comma in a splice with a semicolon, colon or dash, the clauses remain joined. This is effective when the clauses include closely related content, serving the structure of the larger piece by remaining together. The use of one form of punctuation over another depends largely on the context of the original comma splice and the relationship of the two clauses.. If one clause explains the other, than that clause should follow a colon.

Additionally, correct a comma splice by adding a coordinating or subordinating conjunction. A coordinating conjunction goes after the comma and between the two clauses. English coordinating conjunctions include "for," "and," "nor," "but," "or," "yet" and "so." A subordinating conjunction, conversely, precedes the first clause.

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