Thursday, January 15, 2009

Lesson 59: Errors of Sentence Structure: Comma Splices and Fused Sentences

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Comma splices and fused sentences are ERRORS that occur at the juncture of independent clauses.

A Comma Splice results when a comma by itself joins independent clauses. Bear in mind that the only time that a comma is correct between two independent clauses is when the comma is followed by a coordinating conjunction (and, but, for, or, nor, yet, and so).

The word splice means "to fasten ends together." The end of one independent clause and the beginning of another cannot be fastened together by a comma alone.


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A Fused Sentence occurs when two independent clauses are not separated by punctuation or joined by a comma with a coordinating conjunction (and, but, for, or, nor, yet, and so).

The word fused means "to unite as if by melting together." Two independent clauses cannot be united as if melted together. A fused sentence is also known as a run-on sentence.


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HOW TO CORRECT COMMA SPLICES AND FUSED SENTENCES

  • Use a period

My father thought I was a troublemaker. All he saw was a little boy who squirmed like an idiot and poked at the kids in the neighborhood.


  • Use a coordinating conjunction

My father thought I was a troublemaker, and all he saw was a little boy who squirmed like an idiot and poked at the kids in the neighborhood.


  • Make one clause subordinate (or dependent) by adding a subordinating conjunction.

Because all he saw in the home was a little ugly boy who squirmed like an idiot and poked at the kids in the neighborhood, my father thought I was a troublemaker.


  • Rewrite the clauses using a conjunctive adverb, either with a semicolon or as two separate sentences.

All he saw in the home was a little ugly boy who squirmed like an idiot and poked at the kids in the neighborhood; consequently, father thought I was a troublemaker.



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Exercise:

Rewrite the following sentences to eliminate the comma splices and fused sentences.

1.) God has a sense of humor sometimes, he looks down as we pray and he laughs.

2.) Justin was terrified separated from the group he was terrified.

3.) He slammed into the living room I stood up to say hello before I could get a single word out.


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~end of lesson~

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