Are these all considered comma splices. I wasn't sure as they refer back to the clause before the comma directly as apposed to just similar ideas. In which case a semi-colon would be used.

Any exceptions to this rule.

Space: What it is, what it isn't.

Every time I close my eyes I remember his laughter, his infectious smile.

I won't win it, I just want to get through it.

  • Space: what it is, what it isn't isn't really a complete sentence anyway, but more like a headline, so you can't really say that it is or isn't a comma splice.
    – stangdon
    Jun 15, 2018 at 17:01
  • They are arguably comma splices. You could avoid any ambiguity if you added a conjunction to each. But note that even though comma splices are syntactically unsound, they can still be stylistically acceptable and understood. Jun 15, 2018 at 19:30

1 Answer 1


A comma splice is a flaw in punctuation, but not a grammar mistake. If two complete sentences are joined with a comma we call it a comma splice.

The first one is a headline, it consists of three noun phrases "Space", "what it is" and "what it isn't". There isn't a complete sentence here, so it can't be a comma splice. A comma is fine, a semicolon is fine too if you prefer.

The second also doesn't join two complete sentences: "his infectious smile" can't be a sentence. What you have is basically a list of thing that are remembered, and lists are usually separated by commas

The third does have two complete sentences, and so it is a comma splice. These look to me like complete sentences. I would use a full stop:

I won't win it. I just want to get through it.

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