A comma splice is a sentence that uses a comma to incorrectly link independent clauses. Since an independent clause can stand alone as a sentence by itself, the result is very jarring to the reader.


Jim watched the Eagles game, Mary went mountain biking.

There are a few easy ways to fix this:

  1. Replace the comma with a period, so there are two separate sentences.

    Jim watched the Eagles game. Mary went mountain biking.

  2. Replace the comma with a semicolon. Do this if you want to draw attention to the relationship between the two independent clauses. Eventually everyone discovers semicolons, and then the tendency is to overuse them; don’t overuse semicolons. You will regret it; and your writing will be weaker because of your mistake.

    Jim watched the Eagles game; Mary went mountain biking

  3. Use one of the following seven words to join the two independent clauses: and, or, but, nor, for, so, or yet

    Jim watched the Eagles game, and Mary went mountain biking.

  4. Make one of the independent clauses less important than the other by adding some words. In the example below, the point of the sentence is to explain what Jim was up to.

    Jim watched the Eagles game, while Mary went mountain biking.