Photo shows a hand holding a red pen in front of an open notebook with a blank page.

Comma splices sound much trickier than they are. 

Basically, if you’ve written a common splice, you’ve tried to connect, or splice, two independent sentences with a comma in an incorrect way. 

Example: 

Writing was a tedious, painful slog, it also was as necessary as breathing.

5 Ways to Edit a Comma Splice:

  1. Change the comma to a period. 

Writing was a tedious, painful slog. It also was as necessary as breathing.

2. Add a conjunction after the comma.

Writing was a tedious, painful slog, but it also was as necessary as breathing.

3. Change the comma to a semicolon.

Writing was a tedious, painful slog; it also was as necessary as breathing.

4. Change the comma to an em-dash.

Writing was a tedious, painful slog–it also was as necessary as breathing.

5. Rewrite the sentence.

As necessary as it was to breathing, writing was still a tedious painful slog. 

Whatever option you choose will affect pacing and tone, so try several options to hit the right note if you’re unsure.


A Note about Dialogue

It’s common for writers (and editors) to leave comma splices in dialogue. Some think it reflects the natural rhythms of speech. It’s up to you to decide how you want to handle those comma splices (and let your editor know). 

More About Commas

To learn more about commas, sign up for my digital course Master the Comma.

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