Sunday, November 4, 2012

Comma Splice: As Seen in Bamshaft Ad


Declan writes:
Snarky, my teacher has been teaching us about comma splices and I think I found one in this ad in Lacrosse magazine. Am I right?
 
Absolutely!

Where does this ad go wrong? The headline uses a comma to join two independent clauses. That's an error known as a comma splice. Remember, commas are used for separating, not connecting.

In this ad, we have two independent clauses. Each contains both a subject and predicate and could stand as a sentence on its own.

How to fix a comma splice:
  • You can simply write two separate sentences. They have been nice all year. Let them be naughty!
  • You can replace the comma with a semicolon (whose job really is to connect) to show that the two clauses are closely related. They have been nice all year; let them be naughty!
  • You can join independent clauses with a comma if one clause begins with a conjunction, which is a word that connects words, phrases or clauses.  Since they have been nice all year, let them be naughty! They have been nice all year, so let them be naughty!
  • You can join independent clauses with a comma if one clause begins with a gerund, meaning a verb ending in '-ing'. Having been nice all year, they can be naughty now.

Possible corrections:
  • They have been nice all year. Let them be naughty!
  • They have been nice all year; let them be naughty!
  • Since they have been nice all year, let them be naughty!

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