Watch for comma splices in your writing

In the old days when tape and film were used to record music and motion pictures, sometimes a little editing would have to be done. This might occur to shorten a piece to make it fit a certain length or reconnect tape/film that broke. It was called splicing. When done poorly, the song or movie scene might appear to have skipped a beat or two.

When writing, authors also can appear to have left our a word or two when they sloppily connect two sentences together to form one. This usually occurs during a comma splice.

In a comma splice, two separate sentences are joined by using a comma rather than the correct punctuation mark (which is a semicolon) or using a conjunction (and, but, or, for, nor, so, yet) with the comma.

The following is an example of a comma splice:

We wanted to see the new movie, it was sold out, however.

It could be fixed in two ways. First, a semicolon might be used in place of the comma:

We wanted to see the new movie; it was sold out, however.

Secondly, a coordinating conjunction might be used after the comma:

We wanted to see the new movie, but it was sold out.