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Comma splice (or run-on sentences)

Video: Comma Splice, by Shaun Macleod from Smrt English (new tab). (Watching time: 2m:42secs)

Shaun explains this common student error.

Complete the quiz items below to see if you have understood this lesson. Then click the blue arrow at the bottom of the page to check your answers.

Instructions: Hover or tap the questions below to see the reason for the answers given in the quiz.

1. True or false.
The problem with comma splices is that they contain two stand-alone sentences, inadequately joined to make one sentence.

True
Why: The Grammarly blog says: "When you join two independent clauses with a comma and no conjunction, it’s called a comma splice." Comma splice by Grammarly blog. Or you can listen to Grammar Girl's comma splice explanation.

2. Choose all the options that can correct this comma splice
I've read four articles on the topic, I still don't understand what it is about.
☐ 1. I've read four articles on the topic, and I still don't understand what it's about.
☐ 2. I've read four articles on the topic: I still dont' understand what it's about.
☐ 3. I've read four articles on the topic; I still don't understan what it's about.
☐ 4. Although I've read four articles on the topic, I still don't understand what it's about.

#1 (use a conjunction) | #3 (use a semi-colon) | #4 (make one sentence dependent)
Why: The strategies you can use for fixing your comma splice are to use a conjunction, a semi-colon, or a dependent clause. Another possibility not included in this quiz item is to use a full-stop and make two separate complete sentences.

3. Select the only sentence that is not a comma splice
❍ Our boss is demanding when it comes to deadlines, he is also fair.
❍ It has hardly rained all winter, I even needed to water the garden.
❍ Brussell sprouts are very good for you, although unfortunately they taste bad.

Brussell sprouts are very good for you, although unfortunately they taste bad.
Why: The first two sentence have two dominant clauses joined by a comma — that is not the correct use of the comma. The final sentence has a indepentant clause and a dependant clause (signaled by "although") separated by a comma — correct.

4. Yes or no?
Any of the various methods for resolving a run-on sentence error are equally fine in any context.
❍ Yes
❍ No

No
Why: It depends on the meaning you intend. For example, if you use a conjunction you are introducing the embedded meaning carried by the conjunction.