Graphic of a blue pencil

Comma Splices

By Modern Language Association

Lesson Plan

Objective: Students will learn to identify a common fault in comma use and will gain practice editing sentences to avoid it.

Total estimated class time: 40­­–55 minutes

Work completed before class: Students should read the post “To Splice or Not to Splice” on The MLA Style Center.

Sequence of classroom activities:

  1. In class, answer any questions students have about the assigned reading. (5–10 mins.)
  2. Ask students to complete the worksheet “Avoiding Comma Splices.” The worksheet can also be completed at home before class. (10–15 mins., if done in class)
  3. Ask students to select a partner and exchange worksheets.
  4. Instruct students to review each other’s worksheets. Students should write down any questions they wish to ask their partner. (10­ mins.)
  5. When students have finished reviewing their partner’s worksheet, they should return it to their partner and be encouraged to discuss any questions that arise. (5–10 mins.)
  6. Reconvene the class and ask students to pose any questions they could not resolve with their partner. (10 mins.)

Alternative approaches: This worksheet can also be given as a take-home exercise that is handed in to the instructor and optionally graded.

Lesson Materials


Key: 1: N, 2: N, 3: N, 4: Y, 5: N, 6: Y. In both 4 and 6, one finds an idiomatic construction in which the second part of the sentence completes sense of the first.

Published 6 June 2017

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