About that comma splice

Subject: About that comma splice
From: Sue MacIntosh <sue -at- PAGES -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 7 Feb 1994 11:40:13 -0800

Michael Priestley writes:

>[an apology for writing a sentence with a comma splice]

Don't beat yourself up, Michael! You're not an idiot. You just need
a different reference book!

The Little, Brown Handbook, 3rd Edition (and my personal favorite
style guide) says the following about comma splices:

"Separate two main clauses with a comma only when they are joined by
a coordinating conjunction."

BUT, then the following--

"Exception: Experienced writers sometimes use commas between very
brief main clauses that are grammatically parallel.

He's not a person, he's a monster.

"However, many readers view such punctuation as incorrect. Unless
you are certain that your readers will not object to the comma in a
sentence like this one, separate the clauses with periods or

I, like Kim Ballard, did not have any trouble understanding the
sentence. Although I can't remember the sentence exactly, the
clauses were grammatically parallel, weren't they?

Michael, you must have assumed that your readers, much like you, were
also "experienced writers." ;-)


Susan M. MacIntosh
Pages Software Inc
San Diego, CA
sue -at- pages -dot- com

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