10 Completely Wrong Ways to Use Commas

I want to go, I want to stay.

Wrong: I want to go, I want to stay.

Why: There's a comma between two complete sentences, but no conjunction. (Comma splice!)

Right: I want to go. I want to stay.

Also right: I want to go; I want to stay.

Why: When two complete sentences are separated by a conjunction, they are independent clauses and components of a single sentence. When there is no conjunction, however, they are simply complete sentences, and complete sentences are punctuated with periods, not commas (I want to go. I want to stay).

If you want two complete sentences to be independent clauses but don't want to use a conjunction, the correct punctuation mark is the semicolon (I want to go; I want to stay).

Related Articles

More Great Links


  • Comma Usage -- A Few Basic Guidelines. University Writing Center. School of Liberal Arts. Indiana University. May 2008. (Aug. 29, 2011) http://www.iupui.edu/~uwc/pdf/comma%20usage%20a%20few.pdf
  • For Example. My English Teacher. (Aug. 30, 2011) http://www.myenglishteacher.net/forexample.html
  • Grinker, Marc A. "Clauses – Restrictive and Nonrestrictive." The Legal Writing Teaching Assistant: The Law Student's Guide to Good Writing. (Aug. 29, 2011) http://www.kentlaw.edu/academics/lrw/grinker/LwtaClauses__Restrictive_and_Nonrest.htm
  • Straus, Jane. "Commas." Grammar Book. (Aug. 29, 2011) http://www.grammarbook.com/punctuation/commas.asp
  • Such As It Is. Word Wise. (Aug. 30, 2011) http://wordwise.typepad.com/blog/2007/08/such-as-it-is.html
  • Writing Tutorials: Commas. University of the District of Columbia. (Sept. 1, 2011) http://hkrauthamer.tripod.com/Comma_rules.html


Why Do We Scratch Our Heads When We're Thinking?

Why Do We Scratch Our Heads When We're Thinking?

Ever scratch your head when you're frustrated or thinking? HowStuffWorks found out how this tic became the signal for so many social expressions.

More to Explore