Comma Splices

A comma splice is a type of run-on whereby two independent clauses—or complete sentences—are incorrectly joined by a comma.


If you begin a sentence with a dependent clause, you must place a comma between the dependent and independent clause. The opposite is not true.

Today I am tired, I will take a nap later.

Grammatical Error: This comma splice has two independent clauses or complete sentences joined incorrectly by only a comma.

Reasoning: The first part of the sentence ("Today I am tired") is an independent clause or complete sentence, and the second phrase ("I will take a nap later") is also an independent clause or complete sentence. The two sentences need to be joined by more than just a comma.

There are three ways to correct a comma splice, and they are similar to the three ways of correcting a run-on.

Corrected Example

1. Replace the comma with a period and make two different sentences.
Today I am tired. I will take a nap later.

2. Join the two sentences correctly by adding a coordinate conjunction after the comma.
Today I am tired, so I will take a nap later.

3. Join the two separate sentences correctly by inserting a semi colon (;).
Today I am tired; I will take a nap later.

4. Subordinate one clause (make one clause dependent and one independent).
Since I am tired today, I will take a nap later.

Exercise 1 | Exercise 2