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Practice English Speaking&Listening with: Comma Splices, Independent Clauses, and Subordinate Clauses

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I want to talk about comma splices and

independent clauses and to do so in a

way that maybe will help students

understand how to avoid these errors and

how to think about independent clauses

and and punctuation so let's start with

this sentence here or this thing here I

work I need money now we would call this

a fused sentence that is it's got an

independent clause here and in an

independent clause that's something that

could stand alone as a sentence I work

that could stand alone as a sentence

there could be a period there so this is

an independent clause and I need money

well that's another thing that could

stand alone as a sentence there is a

period after it but when you have these

two things running together and

absolutely nothing between them

independent clause independent clause

and nothing between them we would call

that a fused sentence that is there

there has to be some boundary that this

boundary between independent clauses

needs to be marked in some way now if

you marked it by putting a comma there

now this would be called a comma splice

that is the appearance of a comma

between two independent clauses that

aren't joined by a coordinating

conjunction and this is an error so this

is the comma splice I work I need money

we have an independent clause here an

independent clause here a comma in the

middle but no coordinating conjunction

the common is too weak to join

independent clauses without a

coordinating conjunction so now let's

put a coordinating conjunction here now

this sentence is correct I work for I

need money for being a coordinating

conjunction now where students might get

mixed up or anybody might get mixed up

is thinking about this definition of a

comma splice this error that

want to avoid namely the use of a comma

between independent clauses not joined

by coordinating conjunction or another

thing you want to avoid is the fused

sentence that is when you have two

independent clauses and nothing between


well let's contrast this sentence to

this sentence I work because I need

money and I work for I need money now

these sentences mean the same thing and

as somebody might look at this one up

here and this is correct by the way to

have it no punctuation here at all and

so you might look at this and say well

down here that's that counts these three

words I need money count as as an

independent clause and you might look at

these things I need money and say well

there it is there are those same three

words I need money I need money and here

is the same independent clause looking

thing here I work that's an independent

clause down here and I work so you think

well here's an independent clause here's

an independent clause there is something

between them but it's not a coordinating

conjunction so what can I do here I mean

why is this correct and this not correct

well the answer is I'll tell you the

answer first it may make no sense but

this isn't an independent clause in fact

there's no name for what this is these

three words down here I need money

they are an independent clause these

three words up here aren't anything they

are joined to this word because in a way

that four is not joined to I need money

this thing down here really I mean oh

boxes around

there are two independent clauses and

the coordinating conjunction is standing

in a way outside of both of them it's

coming between them it's balancing both

of them but the same isn't true with

this because this because if part of the

unit that includes I need money and the

way you can tell that is that you can do

something with this this thing and what

this thing is is a subordinate clause

because I need money it is a unit that

cannot be broken down the way for is not

really part of the unit that includes I

need money this is independent but the

thing that you can do is you could move

this clause here the subordinate clause

is not an independent clause you could

move it to the front of the sentence you

would need to put a comma and then you

would get because I need money I work

and that's a good English sentence and

that tells you among other things there

that demonstrates to you that this is a

subordinate clause but if you try to do

that with these words here for I need

money you would get for I need money I

work which is utterly nonsensical and

that shows you that these words for I

need money function quite differently

from these words because I need money

and that would also help clarify why

four counts as a coordinating

conjunction and why because isn't a

coordinating conjunction in fact it's it

we call it a subordinating conjunction

and so by looking at these two sentences

you can see that it's not just somebody

in a room who decided that because

doesn't count as a coordinating


and so you know and four does it's

actually built into the grammar because

I need money

is a very different kind of a thing

grammatically from four I need money

The Description of Comma Splices, Independent Clauses, and Subordinate Clauses