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Comma Splices

Comma splices occur when two independent clauses are incorrectly joined with a comma. In other words, the words on each side of the comma could form their own sentence.

There are several ways to correct comma splices.

  1. One of the easiest ways to correct comma splices is to create two separate sentences.
    1. Comma Splice
      1. The council’s plans will never be carried out, there is too much opposition.
    2. Corrected with a period
      1. The council’s plans will never be carried out. There is too much opposition.
  2. Usually, a comma indicates a brief pause. However, a comma is not strong enough to provide the strong separation between two independent clauses. A semicolon can correct a comma splice if the two independent clauses are related.
    1. Comma Splice
      1. As the teacher prepared for the lesson, she wrote on the chalkboard and turned on the overhead projector, she had everything she needed to start teaching her students.
    2. Corrected with semicolon
      1. As the teacher prepared for the lesson, she wrote on the chalkboard and turned on the overhead projector; she had everything she needed to start teaching her students.
  3. You can also correct a comma splice by inserting a coordinating conjunction such as and, or, nor, for, or but.
    1. Comma Splice
      1. John was anxious about his date, he decided to cancel it.
    2. Corrected with a coordinating conjunction
      1. John was anxious about his date, and he decided to cancel it.
  4. A comma splice can be corrected by using a subordinating conjunction. Until, as long as, because, in order that, and unless are subordinating conjunctions.
    1. Comma Splice
      1. John was anxious about his date, he decided to cancel it.
    2. Corrected with a subordinating conjunction
      1. John was anxious about his date until he decided to cancel it.

The information on this page was adapted from A Writer's Reference by Diana Hacker and SF Writer by John Ruszkiewicz, Maxine Hairston, and Daniel E. Seward.

This information was compiled by Erin Fulton.

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