Run-on Sentences/Comma Splices/Fused Sentences

Do not join together two sentences with a comma

For example, you can NOT do the following:

Incorrect: My head hurts, I am going to take an aspirin.

Both “My head hurts” and “I am going to take an aspirin” could stand on their own as sentences. Thus, they are called independent clauses, and you cannot join two independent clauses with a comma. This error is usually called a comma splice or a run-on sentence.

You CANNOT fix the comma splice by eliminating the comma:

Incorrect: My head hurts I am going to take an aspirin.

This error is called a fused sentence or a run-on.

Four ways to fix a comma splice or run-on

1) Separate the two independent clauses with a period

Example: My head hurts. I am going to take an aspirin.

2) Join the two independent clauses with a comma AND a coordinating conjunction

Coordinating conjunction words include: and, but, or, nor, for, so, & yet

Example: My head hurts, and I am going to take an aspirin.

Or...

Example: My head hurts, so I am going to take an aspirin.

3) Join the two independent clauses with a semicolon

Example: My head hurts; I am going to take an aspirin.

Or...

Example: My head hurts; therefore, I am going to take an aspirin.

4) Place a dependent word (such as after, although, because, before, even though, if, since, unless, until, when, or while) at the beginning of one of the clauses

Example: Because my head hurts, I am going to take an aspirin.

Note: If the dependent clause comes first, put a comma after it. If it comes second, do not set it off with a comma unless it is nonessential information.