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Improve Your Writing in 7 Quick Lessons: Part 1, Creepy Comma Splices

Updated on February 16, 2017

Seshat, Egyptian Goddess of Writing and Measurement

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Part 1, Creepy Comma Splices and Friends

Improve Your Writing in 7 Quick Lessons: Part 1, Creepy Comma Splices

While there is no substitute for a good ole grueling college composition course to polish your writing until it shines like diamonds, these seven hacks can substantially improve your writing skills and can be accomplished today.

While there are obviously more than seven mistakes you can make while trying to write good English prose, these seven are the best place to start because they constitute the low hanging fruit of errors—easily found, easily fixed. Bookmark this article for occasional review.

  1. Sentence Boundary Errors
  2. Comma Use Errors
  3. Pronoun Reference/Placement Errors
  4. Dangling and Misplaced Modifiers
  5. Missing Transitions
  6. Colon and Semi-Colon Use
  7. Clarity

Creepy Comma Splices

Sentence boundary issues are like the cockroaches of writing in English. These errors are ever-present, commonplace and sticky. Once exterminated, they often reappear in new places. To rid your writing of these pests, we will first identify and examine the types of errors that arise from sentence boundary errors.

  • Comma splice: two independent sentences incorrectly held together using a comma for glue
  • Runtogether sentences: sentences stuck together with or without commas
  • Sentence fragment: a phrase lacking either a verb or a subject, it wants to be a sentence, but it is just a piece of one

Try this exercise to test your skill with sentence boundaries. Feel free to copy and print this exercise, or any of the exercises in the series, for later or for a friend. Please, please relax and try to enjoy this little test. It’s made from real students real errors in real essays, and completing it has helped many other writers fix their sentence boundary errors.


First Aid for Sentences: Runtogethers, Comma Splices, and Fragments

Identify the error by writing an R, C, or F by the sentence. Then, insert the appropriate punctuation needed to correct the sentence.

  1. They didn’t give me anything I simply had to earn it.
  2. My senior year came and I couldn’t wait till it was over I wanted to grow up fast and move out just to get away.
  3. It was fun I actually enjoyed working just for the fact that I could get away from Lawton.
  4. Within maybe a week I was moved out and into my own apartment I was so excited and scared but so ready for it.
  5. College was the big deal I was so scared going from 16 students in each class to 20 or 30 and then the campus from 180 students to almost 3,000 students.
  6. Unfortunately, that never happened for us we always seemed to be able to get into trouble.
  7. Of who could build the best fort and who could slide down the coolest or the fastest.
  8. The memory still haunts me because I could not read that book it was just too difficult and she still make me read it.
  9. In my armored bicycle of course, armed with my machine BB gun and my back up slingshot.
  10. Running down the road with the SWAT Team right on my trail.
  11. For example, military men and women putting their life on hold to serve and protect for our freedom, the ultimate sacrifices these young men and women give is admirable.
  12. Or even the Asian people.
  13. Once I decided to get married he stood behind me, he also married me and my husband.
  14. Everything went blank I could see her running but I can’t hear her.
  15. Such as make people feel good, happy, or look up to them.
  16. Realizing what happened and how lucky we were to get out of it alive.
  17. I have to practice every afternoon, using time efficiently is very important for me, I have to focus in every class, to get good grades.
  18. I don’t care what people think of me, I am going to do what I think is correct and what I learned from my parents.

Answers, Don’t Peak!

  1. R 2. R 3. R 4. R 5. R 6. R 7. F 8. R 9. F 10. F

11. CS 12. F 13. CS 14. R 15. F 16. F 17. CS 18. CS

Don’t forget to read the next 6 parts of this article! Read the whole thing to tune up your writing skills.

Coming soon:

Vague and Misplaced Pronoun References

Dangling Modifiers

Missing Transitions: Don’t Push Me, Man

Irritable and Overactive Colons and Semi Colons

Clarity and Empathy

Dunbar Green www.greenswriting.com


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    • theraggededge profile image

      Bev 8 weeks ago from Wales

      Oh my goodness! The threat of an irritable colon is very frightening, so I'm making mine smile :)