Set III, 17

Comma splice, run-on, fragment 

A comma splice (CS) occurs when two independent clauses (IC) are joined incorrectly by a comma.

x 1. They were on edge, they wanted to leave quickly and quietly.

x 2. I was so happy, I could have jumped for joy.

x 3. The clouds were slowly gathering, the leaves were turning around as the wind blew stronger.

Correct the CS by using (1) a comma and a coordinating conjunction (and, or, nor, but, for, yet), (2) a period, or (3) a semicolon. Some IC's are better subordinated making them dependent clauses (DC) or subordinate clauses as they are frequently called.

1. They were on edge, and they wanted to leave quickly and quietly.

They were on edge. They wanted to leave quickly and quietly.

They were on edge; they wanted to leave quickly and quietly.

They were on edge; thus they wanted to leave quickly and quietly.

A dash is not the proper punctuation between two IC's. Because they were on edge, they wanted to leave quickly and quietly.

2. I was so happy; I could have jumped for joy.

I was so happy that I could have jumped for joy.

This second sentence is the better sentence because a DC is needed to show a cause-effect relationship that cannot be shown when the semicolon or period is used.

3. The clouds were slowly gathering, and the leaves were turning around as the wind blew stronger.

A semicolon should not be used because it would not show the simultaneous action that the comma and the coordinating conjunction show.

(While) (As) the clouds were slowly gathering, the leaves were turning around as the wind blew stronger.

A run-on (r-o) sentence occurs when two IC's are joined incorrectly without any punctuation.

x 1. They were on edge they wanted to leave quickly and quietly.

2. I was so happy I could have jumped for joy. The sentence is correct because the subordinating conjunction is implied (that); however, it could be misread as a r-o sentence if emphasis is not placed correctly. Do not drop that in such a sentence unless there is no possibility of the sentence being misread.

x 3. The clouds were slowly gathering the leaves were turning around as the wind blew stronger.

Without punctuation after gathering, the reader picks up the leaves momentarily as the incorrect object of gathering, and confusion exists until the reader understands that the first IC ended with gathering.

Correct a r-o sentence the same way that a CS is corrected. *If you simply insert a comma, then you've converted the r-o into a CS!

A fragment is usually the result of incorrect punctuation, frequently the result of a misused semicolon.

x 1. We were extremely busy; although, we had time for coffee. Although is a subordinating conjunction; don't try to use it as a conjunctive adverb.

We were extremely busy, although we had time for coffee.

We were extremely busy; however, we had time for coffee.

x 2. Because they were on time; we were late getting ready. A DC at the beginning of the sentence is followed by a comma. Because they were on time, we were late getting ready.

x 3. We ran four miles a day; whereas, they walked. Whereas is a subordinating conjunction, not a conjunctive adverb. We ran four miles a day, whereas they walked. We ran four miles a day; however, they walked.

x 4. We were more than willing to help. Especially since we had the means. Especially in such a construction calls for a comma before it since the word introduces a DC. We were more than willing to help, especially since we had the means.

x 5. We had tons of money. More money than we could spend in three seconds at a carnival. Money is simply a repetition. Without a comma after the first money, the last group of words is a noun surrounded by modifiers. We had tons of money, more money than we could spend in three seconds at a carnival.

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