• Teaching the comma splice / run-on sentence


    Teaching the comma splice / run-on sentence

    Roger Graham

    Westerford High, Cape Town


    Using the idea of newspaper headlines and articles to launch the correction of errors struck me as a possibility after I heard our head of department say at a meeting:” The comma splice is getting out of control.”  Beginning with the idea of a headline “COMMA SPLICE OUT OF CONTROL”,  I set out a frontpage of a paper, containing a number of other types of articles, also headlined by the relevant error within them.  Each article has further errors within it, but the lion’s share goes to the headlined one.

    The ways I have done this in class is as follows:  photostatting the page, giving it to the pupils and having them number each error they spot on the page; then they write down the number in their workbooks and opposite it supply the corrected version of the error.  What has worked better and more efficiently is to have the whole class in the computer room, each at a console, present the page to them which they then save into their own drive and then they correct it as it is.  Hopefully, there is a big screen in the computer room where one’s memo can be put up after they have finished the page and they can see where they got it right or wrong.

    Click below for an example of one of Roger’s news pages. (You will need a PDF reader.) Below it is the memo.

    comma splice

    Splice memo


    Why not send us a teaching tip of your own? You could win a copy of the Longman South African English Dictionary. For more details of this dictionary, see ‘Welcome to the Winter 2012 Edition of Teaching English Today. Send your contibution to drv@worldonline.co.za.





    Categories: Volume 4