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


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