Leave Splicing to the Electricians

© 2009 Tracy Crump

Splicing is the act of joining two things together, such as wire, rope, or film, it can even refer to joining two people in marriage, a splice can be a good thing in those examples, in writing, comma splices are a definite no-no, good writers take care not to use them. Whew! Read that sentence without taking a breath!

In a comma splice, a writer joins two or more independent clauses (complete sentences) with a comma(s), creating a run-on sentence. Unfortunately, I’ve seen many proficient writers commit this error.

If you find comma splices in your writing, you have five choices:

Add a coordinating conjunction. The seven coordinating conjunctions in the English language are and, but, or, nor, for, so, and yet.

  • In writing, comma splices are a definite no-no, so good writers take care not to use them.

Use a semicolon to separate the independent clauses.

  • In writing, comma splices are a definite no-no; good writers take care not to use them.

Make the clauses separate sentences.

  • In writing, comma splices are a definite no-no. Good writers take care not to use them.

Restructure the sentence by subordinating one of the clauses.

  • Since comma splices are a definite no-no in writing, good writers take care not to use them.

Leave the comma splice and let the editor think you don’t understand basic sentence structure.

  • A definite no-no.

The choice is yours, but I suggest you leave splicing to the electricians.

Resource: The Bedford Handbook, 6th ed., by Diana Hacker

Tracy Crump has published more than 100 articles, devotionals, and short stories in publications such as Focus on the Family, Today’s Christian, Journey, Pray!, ParentLife, and CBN.com. Thirteen of her stories have appeared in anthologies, including Chicken Soup for the Soul and Cup of Comfort. Crump serves as conference faculty for American Christian Writers, Kentucky Christian Writers, and Southeast Christian Writers and moderates an online critique group. She is a 2008 C.L.A.S.S. graduate and was named 2009 Writer of the Year at the Memphis ACW Conference.

 


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