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The SAT Writing and Language section will test you on your knowledge of punctuation. Often students are unprepared especially if grammar has not been emphasized in school. Unfortunately, more and more schools are not teaching grammar. However, it is essential you understand grammar rules if you want to score high on the SAT.
What is a Comma Splice?
When a comma alone is used to separate two independent clauses, the result is known as a comma splice. Comma splices are always incorrect.
Can you detect a Comma Splice?
How to fix a Comma Splice?
Comma splices are often signaled by the construction comma + pronoun. Let's try to fix the above sentences. There are many ways to do it, and the SAT does not prefer any specific method. Some questions will require you to correct them with a period, while others will require you to fix them using a semicolon, a comma with FANBOYs, or even another formulation.
Incorrect: Potatoes are used in many different cuisines, farmers around the world grow many varieties of them.
Incorrect: My family bakes cakes and cookies on weekends, we then sit around and enjoy everything we make together.
Incorrect: I didn't like the movie, it was way too long.
Another option is to turn one of the independent clauses into a dependent clause, often by using a subordinating conjunction like, because, while, or although. We just saw an example above when we used 'because'.
You can also combine sentences with participles (-ing) to create dependent clauses.
Incorrect: Tomatoes were originally small, they became large only recently.
Correct: Tomatoes were originally small, becoming large only recently.
We can fix comma splices by:
Practice Makes Perfect
Here are some sentences you can test your understanding of how to fix comma splices.