When I spoke at the first-ever Financial Blogger Conference I noted the sin of “comma splicing” (among others). A couple of people approached me later to say they were guilty of committing a crime they didn’t know existed.
Go and sin no more, writers.
Comma splicing is the act of using a comma to join two independent clauses. Here’s an example* I saw recently: “Initially it appeared that things would be fine, the shop accepted my coupon and assured me the work would soon be completed.”
As the “Archer” character Lana would say: Noooooope!
According to Mignon Fogarty, aka “Grammar Girl,” you can fix comma splices pretty easily with a period, semicolon or coordinating conjunction, depending on the situation. (Follow the link above to learn the specifics.)
Style or error?
Note: Comma splices aren’t always wrong. “This is my rifle, this is my gun” is correct. “This is my daughter, this is my son”? Also correct.
“This is my rifle, my daughter and son bought it for me last Christmas”? Nuh-uh. Get yourself one of the fixes noted above.
Fogarty also points out that some people protest that writing “quirks” like comma splicing might be part of an author’s style. She’s not buying it:
“Occasionally, someone brilliant intentionally bucks the rules and still succeeds, but it’s much more common for writers to have consistent errors like comma splices in their manuscripts not because they are brilliant renegades, but because they actually don’t know the rules.”
I’m not buying it, either. Nor would I be likely to buy a book (or read an article) by someone whose writing is all splicey. Most of us aren’t brilliant renegades. Writing well is important, bloggers should know the rules and check their work.
*This sentence has been altered slightly to avoid outing the author as a dirty rotten comma-splicer.