A comma splice occurs when you divide two complete clauses with a comma. Although we may use this phrasing when we speak, it is always a mistake when you write.
- Hand me the salt and pepper, the eggs are bland.
- You sat on my pastry, now I can’t eat it.
- The birds come to the feeder every day, I have to refill it constantly.
When two clauses are related, they should be joined by a comma and a conjunction, or divided by either a semicolon or a period (if they belong in two separate sentences). If you examine the incorrect examples, you will notice that — in addition to the solution of using either a semicolon or a period — you might alternatively try using a conjunction such as because, so, or and. “You sat on my pastry, so now I can’t eat it” works. “You sat on my pastry; now I can’t eat it” also works.
MORE TO KNOW
Although a semicolon is a handy replacement in a comma splice for related clauses, one should never separate unrelated clauses with a semicolon. “The birds come to the feeder every day; tomorrow I leave for Zimbabwe” may have a nice ring to it, but the clauses have nothing to do with each other.