A. Here’s the problem:
You’ll find the run-on sentence in my list of “no excuses, no mercy” items at the end of this section. But the run-on has a first cousin—the comma splice—which is a constant thorn in my side when I’m correcting papers. Essentially the problem occurs whenever you fuse (“splice”) two independent clauses with only a comma. They’re much too common among high school writers, and my goal for this page is to take a giant step toward eradicating these writing demons.
B. What to do:
The problem has three basic solutions. If the two clauses are closely related in meaning and joined by a conjunctive adverb, replace the comma with a semicolon. Adding a subordinating or coordinating conjunction may also rescue you from the mire. More frequently, your writing will be clearer, cleaner, and more fluid if you separate the comma splice into two sentences.
C. Example: Because of his wealth, Mr. Collins finds himself to be a perfect match for any bachelorette, ironically, it is his pride that makes him unattractive to Elizabeth and the reader.
Corrected Version: Because of his wealth, Mr. Collins finds himself to be a perfect match for any bachelorette; ironically, it is his pride that makes him unattractive to Elizabeth and the reader.
D. Now you try—write corrected versions of the following sentences.
1. Mr. Collins is absurd and his life seems a waste, he senselessly follows the orders of Lady Catherine.
2. Sadly, Elizabeth’s parents cannot agree with her decision, her mother will never see her again if she does not accept the marriage, while her father also will never see her again if she does marry Collins (see also section 2.1, concise sentences)
E. For more information or additional practice, check the following sources: