FRAGMENTS & COMMA SPLICES
FRAGMENTS result when a group of words lacks an independent subject and/or verb: Joe, my pal. (no verb)
Walked three miles. (no subject)
To be a sentence, a group of words must contain a subject and a verb that are independent, that is, that can stand alone as a complete thought:
S-V. This is the symbol for an independent clause.
Cows give milk.
The weather is pleasant.
Problems identifying independent subjects and verbs:
1. A phrase is not a sentence:
Prepositional phrase fragments:
On the other side of the swift-rushing river.
By the time of the game.
Running the business. (participial phrase)
To earn a lot of money. (infinitive phrase)
2. A dependent clause is not a sentence:
After the party was over.
When the clock struck one.
COMMA SPLICES result when two independent clauses are spliced together with a comma.
Comma Splice Pattern: Sentence Patterns:
S-V, S-V. S-V . S-V.
S-V ; S-V.
You can join two independent clauses together with a comma if you use a coordinate conjunction:
The pattern is
S-V, and/or/but/nor/for/yet/so S-V.
Mother left early, but Father was late.
You can join a dependent clause (starts with words like where, when, because, etc.) to an independent clause with a comma:
When the rain stopped, we left the cabin.
You must use a semicolon (;) to join independent clauses with conjunctive adverbs. Using a comma [,] creates a comma splice.
The pattern is S-V ; however, S-V .
Conjunctive adverbs are usually followed by a comma because they are interrupters.