Common Grammatical Errors: The Comma Splice

The Comma Splice joins two complete sentences with a comma.

Joey went to the grocery store, he needed to buy eggs for supper.

This sentence is incorrect because “Joey went to the grocery store” and “he needed to buy eggs for supper” are both complete sentences. A comma alone cannot join two sentences.

Five main ways to fix commas splices:
1. We can separate the two clauses into two sentences by replacing the comma with a period.

Joey went to the grocery story. He needed to buy eggs for supper.

2. We can replace the comma with a semi-colon.

Joey went to the grocery store; he needed to buy eggs for supper.

3. We can replace the comma with a co-ordinating conjunction (and, but, or, for, yet, nor, or so). Each of these words implies a relationship, so be careful that you retain the meaning of the sentence when you use these conjunctions. Note also that usually you need to place a comma before the conjunction.

Joey went to the grocery store, for he needed to buy eggs for supper.

4. We can replace the comma with a subordinating conjunction (e.g., after, although, before, unless, as, because, even though, if, since, until, when, while).
By doing this, you change one of the independent clauses into a dependent clause.

Joey went to the store because he needed to buy eggs for supper.

5. Replace the comma with a semi-colon and transitional word (e.g.,   however, moreover, on the other hand, nevertheless, instead, also, therefore, consequently, otherwise, as a result). Note: You need to place a semi-colon before the transitional word, and a comma after: Joey did not go to the store; as a result, he needed to buy eggs for supper.