This week's post concerns The Evil. The Evil has been a particular enemy of mine for many years, and The Evil might actually be ultimately responsible for the existence of this grammar blog. That is how much I hate The Evil.
The Evil is the comma splice.
Oh. That's it?
I am sorry. I had to force back the bile in my mouth. The Evil is a scourge of the grammarscape, and it torments me.
A comma splice is where two complete sentences have been combined with nothing more than a comma.
Here are some examples.
"I love drinking blood, it is so much fun."
"I always wanted to be a vampire, they are so cool."
"The Evil will haunt you forever, you will not have a moment's peace."
All of these are comma splices. Why? Because each side of the comma is a complete sentence. This harks back to last week's entry on fragments. If on one side of the comma is a fragment, you should be safe. If there are sentences on both sides, you have summoned up The Evil in your writing. Each of the above sentences could be fixed, either by altering one of the sentences to a fragment, or else by bolstering the comma with help, such as a coordinating conjunction.
This guy comma spliced, and look where it got him
"I love drinking blood because it is so much fun."
In this case, we swapped out the comma for the subordinating conjunction "because". The Evil is gone, and in its place we have a perfectly acceptable sentence.
"I always wanted to be a vampire. They are so cool."
In this case, we split the comma splice into its two component sentences. Each is capable of standing alone.
"The Evil will haunt you forever, and you will not have a moment's peace."
It even scares unrealistic, unattainable, big-eyed cutesy anime girls!
In this case, we added the coordinating conjunction "and", thereby transforming the sentence from a specimen of The Evil into a compound sentence.
There are, as I have illustrated, many ways to correct a comma splice. Please, please, for the love of all that is holy, do correct them. Do not let The Evil into your work. If you once let The Evil in, it will take over everything. You will lose all your work to the Computer Gremlins. You will probably be hit by an oncoming bus, and only your comma splices will mourn you.
A bus full of gremlins.
Next week I will introduce you to the comma splice's almost as evil cousin, the run-on sentence. Until then, keep those grammar candles burning.