The Comma Splice, Grammar Tips That Work

Comma Splice

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I made that meme, some people might not be familiar with the comma splice. Wikipedia has an article on them, you might find it helpful. The bottom line is to avoid comma splices, good writers can find uses for them though.

And in other news: I’m starting a new band called The Comma Splices, it’s not your grammar’s music.

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[This is the third of three posts on language. Tuesday we looked at the origin of being “meanspirited”, while yesterday explored whether there’s an  appropriate language for speaking the gospel.]

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20 Responses to The Comma Splice, Grammar Tips That Work

  1. Pastor Bob says:

    The semi-colon to the rescue!!
    ” ; ; “

  2. Jeannie says:

    Tim, this post, and PB’s reply, made me think of when I and 4 other people went to the Festival of Faith & Writing in Grand Rapids in 2010. When we crossed the border, the American border official we encountered was a HOOT! First he looked us over and asked “Are you all a vocal group?” (Well, we did talk quite a bit…) Then he asked about the writing conference and whether we were writers. Then he proceeded to tell us how he’d learned all about the “sem-eye colon” (I emphasize the pronunciation because here in Canada we usually pronounce it “semmy-colon”) and how you couldn’t get anywhere in his line of work if you didn’t have good grammar. It was a great moment!

  3. Laura Droege says:

    I had a great laugh at your use of comma splices in this piece, such irony cannot go unnoticed, unappreciated, un . . . sorry, I’m trying to think of a word for un-standing-ovation-ed (unlauded?).

    I also read the Wikipedia article. How interesting that comma splices are compulsory in Bulgarian.

  4. The comma splice is a tool of Satin, I don’t know who gave you the authority to use it, I rebuke you according to Titus 2.

  5. Opa Bear says:

    German uses comma splices all the time. They’re normal. German wouldn’t be German without ’em. (It uses a lot of commas, too)

  6. Erica M. says:

    I’m laughing and hurting at the same time…

  7. Emmy says:

    Hi. I’m new here.
    I’ve been reading your blog for about a week now (I backtracked about 5 pages…) and I love the mix of topics. I’m usually one of the quiet kids at the back of the class when it comes to blogs, but when I came across this one I just had to comment. I consider myself a language geek – I’m bilingual, being fluent in (my native) Swedish and English, I used to know a reasonable amount of French and I dabble with learning Swahili. I even studied entry-level linguistics at University as part of an English course, albeit about 10 years ago. And I’ve never even heard of a comma splice before. It turns out that they’re acceptable but not really encouraged in Swedish and, according to Swedish Wikipedia, may be an indication of “sloppy or non-existent proof reading”.

    • Tim says:

      Emmy, I am so glad you’ve liked what you’ve read so far. When it comes to grammar, I’m certainly not an expert but I do like to learn new things about language and how it works. These comma splice rules are fun. I also think they are made to be broken when needed. The people who do it best are the ones who know when to follow the rule and when to toss it aside. For me, I just can’t resist making fun out of all of it sometimes.

      • Emmy says:

        Oh definitely, language is a “living” thing, and figuring out how it works and how it can be used differently is one of my favourite passtimes. We should only be prescriptive about grammar to the extent that it helps us communicate properly, not to a point where it hinders communication. I found your comment about “grammar’s music” hilarious, by the way.

  8. Carole F. says:

    I was sad after the Infinitives split, so it’s heartening to hear about the new band, The Comma Splices.

    Hilarious post and comments. Thanks!

    Just because: Word Crimes

    • Tim says:

      I love Word Crimes! (Not only for its wit but because it is tons better than the original.)

      And by the way, I had to quote your comment as comment of the day on Twitter just now. Infinitives splitting!

  9. Carole F. says:

    Figured that Word Crimes had to be right up the judge’s alley! And I’m honored by #cotd. Thank you. Looking forward to more enlightenment – in all its forms!

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