Comma Splice

A comma-splice (CS) is two independent clauses joined (spliced) with a comma. Separate them by adding a co-ordinating conjunction (like and), a semicolon, or a period.

  • Wrong: Gertrude “carouses to [Hamlet’s] fortune,” she dies (Shakespeare, Hamlet 5.2.232).
  • Right: Gertrude “carouses to [Hamlet’s] fortune,” and she dies (5.2.232).
  • Right: Gertrude “carouses to [Hamlet’s] fortune” (5.2.232); she dies.
  • Right: Gertrude “carouses to [Hamlet’s] fortune” (5.2.232). She dies.

Important caveats!

Note that however, therefore, and thus are not co-ordinating conjunctions. Do not use them to join two independent clauses.

  • Wrong: Gertrude “carouses to [Hamlet’s] fortune,” therefore she dies (5.2.232).
  • Right: Gertrude “carouses to [Hamlet’s] fortune” (5.2.232). Therefore, she dies.