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Sentences and Style

Learn about English sentence rules and style suggestions to help you become a more confident writer

Comma splice

The term "comma splice" refers to a comma that is used to incorrectly join two independent clauses, thereby creating a run-on sentence.

For example:

  • The storm howled in the night, the children hid in their beds.
    ("The storm howled in the night" and "the children hid in their beds" are independent clauses)

To avoid a comma splice, insert a semicolon between the two independent clauses or use a coordinating conjunction that is preceded by a comma.

  • The storm howled in the night; the children hid in their beds.
  • The storm howled in the night, and the children hid in their beds.

For more information on punctuating sentences and avoiding comma splices, please see the Commas, Semicolons, and Colons video.