Comma splices and fused sentences are independent clauses that have not been joined correctly. A word group that can stand alone as a sentence is known as an independent clause. When two independent clauses appear in one sentence, they can be joined in one of many ways.
- With a comma and a coordinating conjunction such as (and, but, or, nor, for, so, yet).
- With a semicolon (or occasionally a colon or a dash).
- Divide the two independent clauses into two sentences.
- Consider restructuring the sentences, perhaps by subordinating one of the clauses.
Comma Splices occur when the writer connects two independent clauses with a comma.
Incorrect: Chloe ate her dog food, the brand was Pedigree.
The two subjects, dog food and brand, are connected by an unneeded comma. If a coordinating conjunction were used after the comma, the sentence would be correct.
- Chloe ate her dog food, and the brand was Pedigree. (Use a comma and a coordinating conjunction.)
- Chloe ate her dog food; Pedigree was the brand. (Use a semicolon.)
- Chloe ate her dog food. The kind she ate was Pedigree. (Divide the sentence into two complete sentences.)
- The kind of dog food Chloe ate was Pedigree. (Reconstruct the sentence.)
Fused sentences do not display a comma between independent clauses. As stated before, a fused sentence is also known as a run-on sentence.
Incorrect: The cheerleaders got new uniforms they can not wait for the first game in November.
Revision can be done in the following ways:
- Use a period and write two sentences.Correct: The cheerleaders got new uniforms. They can not wait for the first game in November.
- Use a semicolon.Correct: The cheerleaders got new uniforms; they can not wait for the first game in November.
Both comma splices and fused sentences can be corrected using the same methods.
Below are a few practice sentences for comma splices or fused sentences. Please use the space provided below to make the necessary changes.
- Chloe likes to chase the cat, the cat doesn’t like Chloe.
- Chloe is a black lab she is a good dog.
- The cheerleaders practice every night they practice for two hours.
- The cheerleaders only cheer for basketball there is no football team.
Hacker, Diana. A Writer’s Reference. 3rd ed. Boston: Bedford Books of St. Martin’s Press, 1995.
Watkins, Floyd C., and William B. Dillingham. Practical English Handbook. 10th Edition. Boston:. Houghton Mifflin, 1996.
Created by Ellen Starling