Comma splices and the movie Splice (also, Twilight)

Splicey (is what I guess the baby's name is)Okay, so I didn’t see the movie Splice, but you just need a quick glance at the creature pictured here and you know it’s going to be disturbing.  A number* of people have told me that this is very much the case, and with a name like Splice, it’s not surprising.  I tell them, hey, comma splices have been disturbing me for over two decades. We “splice” things when we join them together. Apparently in that movie, people splice some genes together and create a monster. Well, when you splice two independent clauses together, you also create a monster of a problem. Look at the following example:

  • Twilight is not my favourite book, it doesn’t even appear in the top ten.

It doesn’t seem fair to find fault with such a wise sentence, but that’s a very ugly splice. To correct it, you have three easy options – a conjunction, a period or the beloved semicolon. Consider how the following three sentences use these options to join their clauses together:

  • The Harry Potter books are much better; their plots, characters and style are more engaging.
  • Those vampires in Twilight don’t even seem like vampires. I don’t think they should sparkle.
  • Many people ask me if I’m on “Team Edward” or “Team Jacob”, but I just tell them I’m on “Team Harry.”

The comma splice is disturbing in that it indicates that the writer hasn’t even fully decided what relationship, if any, exists between the ideas she is throwing at you, much the same way Bella in Twilight never, ever seems to make a decision about which controlling and misogynist supernatural male she would prefer to have make decisions for her.  But maybe that’s just me.

*That number is one.

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About davidlomax

Writer, teacher, husband, dad. Geek from way back. Author of the totally pre-orderable Backward Glass, out in October 2013 from Flux Books (http://goo.gl/4FOM2). View all posts by davidlomax

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