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Getting Smarter through Language

Identifying and Fixing Run-On, Comma Splices

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Based on this lesson, identify and fix the comma splices. There may be multiple ways to correct each sentence.

When you are finished, click “Answer.”

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1. The owner of the company is not particularly bright, he inherited the company from his parents.

Correction (if needed):

Possible correction 1: The owner of the company is not particularly bright. He inherited the company from his parents.

Possible correction 2: The owner of the company is not particularly bright although he inherited the company from his parents.

Note. This is a good example of how comma splices can be confusing to your readers. It is difficult to tell exactly what the original intent of the writer was, which results in possible corrections expressing different ideas.

2. Squirrels get noticeably more active during the fall, as the days get shorter, they have less time to find food, they must work quickly.

Correction (if needed):

Possible correction 1: Squirrels get noticeably more active during the fall. As the days get shorter, they have less time to find food, so they must work quickly.

Possible correction 2: Squirrels get noticeably more active during the fall as the days get shorter. They have less time to find food, so they must work quickly.

3. Researchers have been studying the genetic contribution to longevity, they have found that genetics alone cannot explain how long you live.

Correction (if needed):

Possible correction: Researchers have been studying the genetic contribution to longevity. They have found that genetics alone cannot explain how long you live.

4. Researchers have found that people living with Laron syndrome tend to live long lives, in a recent study, only one of them developed cancer.

Correction (if needed):

Possible correction: Researchers have found that people living with Laron syndrome tend to live long lives. In a recent study, only one of them developed cancer.

5. Many decisions can be made by email, yet managers insist on holding in-person meetings.

Correction (if needed):

There is no comma splice in this sentence. Both sentences are joined using a coordinating conjunction (“yet”), so the comma is needed.

How are you doing so far? Take a minute to stretch and look away from the screen. Then let’s try a few more items.

6. Your genetics explains longevity only in part, according to geneticists, genes account for perhaps 25% of living a long life.

Correction (if needed):

Possible correction: Your genetics explains longevity only in part. According to geneticists, genes account for perhaps 25% of living a long life.

7. Although small mutations in an organism’s DNA may produce negligible differences, cumulative mutations end up producing noticeable differences.

Correction (if needed):

There is no comma splice. The comma is needed here because the sentence starts with the subordinate clause (the “although” sentence).

8. Because he was fired, he could not pay his mortgage, he ended up losing his house.

Correction (if needed):

Possible correction 1: Because he was fired, he could not pay his mortgage. He ended up losing his house.

Possible correction 2: Because he was fired, he could not pay his mortgage, so he ended up losing his house.

Possible correction 3: Because he was fired, he could not pay his mortgage. As a result, he ended up losing his house.

9. Infants become attached to adults who are responsive to them in social interactions, they require consistent caregivers until they are two years old.

Correction (if needed):

Possible correction: Infants become attached to adults who are responsive to them in social interactions. They require consistent caregivers until they are two years old.

10. “Physical,” a song by Olivia Newton John, was the number 1 song in 1981, it stayed at number 1 on the charts for 10 weeks.

Correction (if needed):

Possible correction 1: “Physical,” a song by Olivia Newton John, was the number 1 song in 1981. It stayed at number 1 on the chart for 10 weeks.

Possible correction 2: “Physical,” a song by Olivia Newton John, stayed at the number 1 song on the chart for 10 weeks in 1981.

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