Students are angry! And so am I because my students can’t use commas.

There’s only one story in the UK this week, and that is the one about tuition fees. UK students will now have to fund their own degrees paying up to £9,000 a year for their fees. Yes, I know that you overseas students already pay that much so you are probably just thinking ‘Well, welcome to the real world!’. The thing is that we are used to having our education mostly paid for us by the government out of our taxes so it is a very painful change for us. The worst thing of course is that the political party who all the students voted for because of their promise to keep tuition fees down were the ones who brought in the change. Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear.

I have been noticing, not for the first time, how advanced European students of mine find it difficult to use commas. Students (actually lots of people from all walks of life!) commonly perform what some people call the comma splice. A comma splice is when a comma is used to join up two indepedent clauses. For example:

Jim usually gets on with everybody, he is an understanding person.

This example of the use of the comma is incorrect. Rather than repeating the explanation from Bristol University I am directing you to their page about comma splices which has a good follow up exercise. Improve your puncutation here.