Skip to main content

Grammarly: Punctuation Within a Sentence

Punctuation Within a Sentence

Errors in usage of commas, semicolons, colons, hyphens, and apostrophes all fall under Grammarly’s Punctuation within a Sentence message. Below, we’ll illustrate two common punctuation errors.

Comma Splice

A comma splice occurs when a comma incorrectly separates two independent clauses (clauses that are complete sentences). Here, Grammarly has identified a possible comma splice:

screen shot of grammarly feedback

The student’s sentence reads,

This argument is understandable, however Locke is doing the very thing he accuses Mayer and other multiple intelligences of doing.

Since both this argument is understandable and Locke is doing the very thing he accuses Mayer and other multiple intelligences of doing are independent clauses, they cannot be joined only by a comma.

The student could fix the error here by using a semicolon between the two halves of the sentence.

This argument is understandable; however, Locke is doing the very thing he accuses Mayer and other multiple intelligences of doing.

You can find more information on comma splices at Commas.

Run-On Sentences

A run-on sentence occurs when independent clauses (complete sentences) are joined without any punctuation. Here, Grammarly has identified a run-on sentence:

screen shot of grammarly feedback

The student’s sentence reads,

People see the word emotion and they think of a person crying like they are sad for spilling a glass of milk.

Since both People see the word emotion and they think of a person crying like they are sad for spilling a glass of milk are independent clauses, this sentence is a run-on sentence.

In order for a sentence like this one to be grammatically correct, the clauses must be separated by a comma and a conjunction (or, and, or but). To fix this sentence, the student should write,

People see the word emotion, and they think of a person crying like they are sad for spilling a glass of milk.

You can read more about run-on sentences at Run-On Sentences & Sentence Fragments.