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In my last blog, I wrote about the comma splice and the three possible corrections writers can apply. But it’s worth taking the time to examine those solutions in more detail.

Perhaps you’ve been asked to write a review of a book or a work of art. Or perhaps you’ve been asked to write about a proposed change in law or an event in history. Or you might have been asked to write about the ethics of a philosophy such as vegetarianism. All of these topics invite you to have an opinion and to make a critical analysis in support of that opinion.

In my last blog, I wrote about the two main functions of commas. First, they show readers where to pause and take a breath while they are reading. Second, they also indicate the grammar of a sentence. Nowhere do these two functions come into conflict more than with the infamous comma splice.

When I tell people that I devote an entire three-hour class to teaching the comma, they are often incredulous. The comma seems like such a simple little device. But of all the punctuation marks we use in English it can certainly be the most costly. And by “costly” I mean, quite literally, “costing money.”

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