Notes from writing class - Comma Splices


Disclaimer: This is a recurring and random series of posts. I'm currently enrolled in a basic writing/editing class and felt that my notes might be helpful to others. Please note, I am not an editor. I'm just an author trying to learn more about the craft to improve my own work, and sharing the things I learn along the way.   Enjoy.


What the heck is a comma splice?

I hate to admit my own ignorance but I’ve had critiquing partners yell at me for this and I honestly didn’t know why.  I know, bad Katie. I should have known better. Comma splices are a simple thing.

Comma splices are two complete sentences that you join together with a comma, instead of separating with a period or other punctuation, or joining them with a conjunction (and, but, or…).

While technically incorrect (Editors will have their red pens at the ready), stylistically, they are okay.  But as with all things there is a caveat.  Use sparingly and only when working to show the characters voice.

I wobbled getting up, my head buzzed like the high from a drug.

To be perfectly correct, a period should go where the comma is.

I wobbled as I rose to my feet. My head buzzed like the high from a drug. 

You could also say...

I wobbled as I rose to my feet, and my head buzzed like the high from a drug.

See how easy that was? So remember, to avoid the comma splice, use a period or a coordinating conjunction.

Reminds me of that old GI Joe ending... "Now you know, and knowing is half the battle."



=)

Comments

Stephanie Jones said…
This is all really useful. I'm glad you're keeping it short, sweet and to the point. Thanks for sharing ;)
Katie S said…
Glad my notes are helping. It helps me to write them too. Maybe one day this information will sink in. =)
Christine Danek said…
Very useful and to the point. Thanks for sharing.
Katie S said…
Glad to help. Thanks for following Christine.