Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned.

5 Dec

I have been struggling to come up with another idea for a post, I think I’ll post about punctuation. AGH! I just committed the eighth mortal sin. There’s lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy, pride, and comma splices.

A comma splice is the use of a comma in between two independent clauses. Independent clauses, by definition, are clauses that can stand alone as a sentence. Why is using comma between two independent clauses so grievous? Comma splices are the grand daddy of all punctuation sins because literally any other form of punctation would work except for a comma. Take a look (WARNING: explicit grammar error may be unsuitable for children).

Comma Splice:  These pretzels are making me thirsty, I will get some water.

^Here are two independent clauses joined by a comma. (Seinfeld fans will appreciate the first clause.) These two clauses, in order to be effectively separated, need to be separated by some form of stop punctuation. Essentially any other form of punctuation, even a dash(—), would work.

These pretzels are making me thirsty; I will get some water.

These pretzels are making me thirsty: I will get some water.

These pretzels are making me thirsty. I will get some water.

These pretzels are making me thirsty! I will get some water.

These pretzels are making me thirsty—I will get some water.

Choosing which punctuation to change it to is completely up to you. Based on the context of the two clauses, you can pick whichever one most effectively creates the relationship between the clauses that you desire. Of course, you can add a coordinating conjunction. There’s no fun in explaining those since they don’t tie in too well with my sinning joke I’ve got going on. Perhaps we’ll save those for a later post. In the meantime, for your penance of committing comma splices, say ten Hail Marys and look for more grammar posts on my blog!

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25 Responses to “Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned.”

  1. darcytown 5 June 2012 at 9:31 pm #

    I will raise my hand and say I’m guilty of this one. I write my first drafts fast and I don’t always catch these on the 2nd, 3rd, 10t, 20th pass-throughs. 🙂

  2. amb 5 June 2012 at 10:02 pm #

    Hi there, thanks so much for following my blog! I’ll be back here often to brush up on my grammar skills 🙂

  3. Sally 5 June 2012 at 11:10 pm #

    OMG I do this all the time! Thanks for the post.

  4. juneautumn 6 June 2012 at 3:49 am #

    Hi! i am really glad I found your blog. In German, I am obsessed with grammar, but in English I’ve got some difficulties. I guess, after reading your blog for a while I will get better 🙂

  5. Claudia :] 6 June 2012 at 12:20 pm #

    Woah! I feel like I’m back in high school, only this English lesson just got exciting. Thanks!

  6. Ms. Nine 6 June 2012 at 2:55 pm #

    Thanks for the follow. I am not a grammar guru, and I make plenty of grammatical errors. You have just become my grammar resource.

  7. D. Bryant Simmons 6 June 2012 at 3:07 pm #

    I’ve just learned more from you than I ever did in English class! And you made me laugh.

    • berndavis 6 June 2012 at 4:12 pm #

      That is awesome! Thanks! I hope you stop by my blog frequently!

  8. arestelle 6 June 2012 at 8:01 pm #

    Shouldn’t “Hail Mary’s” be “Hail Marys”? I mean, if we’re on the topic of punctuational pedantry… 😛

  9. Angel 7 June 2012 at 2:16 am #

    I’m sure He will forgive you for any comma splicing. No need to fear. Thank you visiting me and come back soon! I like having something to do! Happy Reading!

  10. letizia 7 June 2012 at 11:18 am #

    fun post 🙂 I’m a big fan of anyone who thinks punctuation is fun! Thanks for following my blog!

  11. chuu2venge 7 June 2012 at 11:50 am #

    I sin all the time, It’s true!

  12. Bosun Dawg 7 June 2012 at 5:10 pm #

    What a great blog! Thanks for your help.

  13. jayne ayres 7 June 2012 at 7:46 pm #

    I love these grammatical lessons as posts in between erotica, comedy, the bizarre and art – I’m creating positive neuro-associations where negative ones stood. Perhaps a lesson on dashes would do me good. I throw those out like I’m on parade with candy. thx!

    • berndavis 7 June 2012 at 7:53 pm #

      Stay tuned! I have a whole list of topics I want to write about and dashes are on the list!

      • jayne ayres 7 June 2012 at 8:00 pm #

        Oh no, I feel wrong already!… but I thats ok. I will enjoy finding out just how wrong I really am. hahaha

      • Chris Biscuits 28 June 2012 at 10:31 am #

        I look forward to that one – will you cover em and en dashes? I’ve studied typography and I mix them up all the time. Great post, and whilst I’m here, great blog too, Jayne!

  14. Rob 8 June 2012 at 6:57 pm #

    So true! Using a comma there really is horrible. Looking forward to seeing you tackle the really controversial bits of punctuation—well, mainly the Oxford comma 😉

    • berndavis 8 June 2012 at 7:29 pm #

      Stay tuned! Its at the top of my topic list!

  15. anlena 8 June 2012 at 7:24 pm #

    Commas are just something I will never master. I had an style class in university in which we discussed this in several sessions and I still don’t get it, nor do I think I ever will.

  16. Thegirl 18 June 2012 at 8:52 am #

    All i can say is thank god for spell check as I am the worst at doing typo’s !!!

  17. Gregoryno6 21 June 2012 at 5:25 pm #

    Leaving aside the punctuation, there’s a story – possibly a myth – that a British officer captured the Indian province of Sindh, and sent his superiors a one-word message: PECCAVI.
    Latin for, ‘I have sinned.’
    And they say the military has no sense of humour.

  18. Toyin Ladipo 24 June 2012 at 4:59 am #

    I love your style of writing! It is funny yet serious, and downright different. Your blog would have come in handy when I was preparing to write GMAT- the grammar rules were a lot different from what I thought I knew until then.

    You will surely ace the GMAT grammar without breaking a sweat.

  19. HorshamGetsFit 26 June 2012 at 2:59 am #

    After years of avoiding the egregiousness of comma splice sinning, I’ve spliced with abandon under the rationalization of “creative license to make a stylistic definition of contemporary writing”. It keeps me from constantly using dashes– I love dashes. Regardless, in my heart of hearts, you nailed it. A splice is a splice.

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  1. The Eight Deadly Sins « Andrew J. Patrick - 7 June 2012

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