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Comma Splice vs. Fragment . Anna Weis . Comma Splices and Fragments . Comma splices and fragments are among the most common writing errors.

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comma splices and fragments
Comma Splices and Fragments
  • Comma splices and fragments are among the most common writing errors.
  • In addition to being grammatically incorrect, both comma splices and fragments lead to incoherent sentences, which impedes thought and causes loss of purpose and flow.
  • A fragment is a group of words used as a sentence, but it is not a sentence. It either lacks a subject, a verb, or some other essential part to a sentence. That missing part makes it incomplete.
  • #1- Milk all over the table.
    • This phrase lacks a verb. To make it a proper sentence one might add spilled. “Milk spilled all over the table.”
  • #2- When I walk to the store.
    • This clause does not convey a complete thought. What happened when you took a walk? To correct add “When I walk to the store, I always pass my neighbors house.”
  • Another way to correct a fragment is to combine the fragment into a previous sentence.
    • Example: Bob asked, “Is that the Big Ben?” Pointing at the tall building in front of him.
    • CORRECTION: Pointing at the tall building in front of him, Ben asked, “is that Big Ben?”
take away
Take Away
  • When checking for fragments:
  • Look for a verb.
  • Look for a subject.
  • Look for subordinating conjunctions (when, while, because, etc.) or relative pronouns (who, which, that). Subordinating conjunctions are used to construct dependent adverbial clauses; relative pronouns are used to construct dependent adjectival clauses. If you suspect a passage is a fragment, the presence of these words will likely prove it is.
comma splices
Comma Splices
  • A comma splice is when two independent clauses are connected with only a comma. This comma is not enough: a period, semicolon, or conjunction is needed.
  • The dog was lying in the hot sun for hours, he began to sweat and show signs of dehydration.
    • Correction: The dog was lying in the hot sun for hours, and he began to sweat and show signs of dehydration (coordination conjunction added)
  • Malcolm X was a very controversial leader in the sixties, many disagreed with his radical ideas.
    • Correction: add semicolon
take away1
Take Away
  • How to identify comma splices and fused sentences:
  • Look for sentences which explain, expand an idea, or link an example to an idea. Often these are fused.
  • Using pronouns like he, she, they, it, this, or that in the same sentence as the antecedent usually signals a fused sentence or comma splice.
  • Look for conjunctive adverbs (however, furthermore, thus, therefore, etc.) and transitional expressions (for example, on the other hand) often signal fused sentences or comma splices.
work cited
Work Cited
  • Sebranek, Patrick, Verne Meyer, and Dave Kemper. Writers Inc. Burlington, WI: Write Source Educational Pub. House, 1992. Print.