Tag Archives: penance

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!