Comma splicing

I think this is the most common, and in terms of losing marks the most serious, error that I come across in work at all levels. At GCSE, if you regularly comma-splice, you are going to seriously damage your chances of your writing being placed in the upper mark bands.

If you have no idea what I’m talking about, here are a couple of online resources that should help out:

A Canadian site with a very clear explanation (unfortunately you can’t do the online quizzes without being a student there)

BBC Skillswise site: pitched at adults with literacy problems, but there’s lots of useful stuff here for ‘plugging gaps’ where you are making basic errors. Covers various different ways of making sentences including a specific worksheet on comma splicing.

I’ve also put some useful ‘flash’ based guides on my A-level blog, but I don’t mind you looking at them, too. Here they are.

If there’s anything you’re unsure about, please ask.

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2 Responses to Comma splicing

  1. amy wood says:

    this helped me i did the easy quiz then the hard and got 10/10 for both first time. im proud 😀 ta sir

  2. Mr Heald says:

    You got 10/10 in the level C quiz? That’s seriously quite impressive. I had to think pretty hard about some of those.

    I notice that you have automatically slipped into a different style of writing for your comment that is increasingly common online: no captals at the beginning of sentences or for the pronoun ‘I; no apostrophe in ‘im proud’; no punctuation between the two independent clauses in your first ‘sentence’ (which is really two sentences, grammatically). I’m not necessarily criticising, as it is a writing style that has become widely accepted for rapid online communication. However, I wonder what you all think about the possibility that this style might ‘interfere’ with writing in the form of standard English that is regarded as ‘correct’ for the purpose of formal writing in exams, and so on.

    What do you reckon? For the sake of better exam performance, should you try and stick to standard English even online, or do you find it easy to switch between styles and still produce accurate, correctly punctuated standard English?

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