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.


My name is Rob Bignell. I’m an affordable, professional editor who runs Inventing Reality Editing Service, which meets the manuscript needs of writers both new and published. I also offer a variety of self-publishing services. During the past decade, I’ve helped more than 300 novelists and nonfiction authors obtain their publishing dreams at reasonable prices. I’m also the author of the 7 Minutes a Day… writing guidebooks, four nonfiction hiking guidebook series, and the literary novel Windmill. Several of my short stories in the literary and science fiction genres also have been published.