I’ve been telling the class that in twenty years’ time, comma splices will be gone. Everyone will use them, and nobody will think they’re wrong.
Normally, I don’t believe in making confident predictions about what’s going to happen twenty years hence, but when it comes to commas, I make an exception. I don’t see how the don’t-use-a-comma-to-join-independent-clauses rule can hang on much longer, given how few people follow it today — given how few people even know about it.
So yesterday F.M. asked why I’m teaching the comma-splice rule if it’s going away.
I’m teaching the comma-splice rule because today is today. Babies born this year won’t have to deal with comma splices when they’re twenty, but you’re not them.
You’re you, you were born when you were born, and today, in the year 2018, comma splices are still a thing. So I have to teach them, and you have to learn them.
Tant pis ! (That’s French for You have to learn not to use comma splices in English 110.)
(I don’t mind teaching comma splices, by the way. Not at all.)
My own feelings about comma splices changed completely when I discovered that the French don’t care about them. If French writers can use a comma to join two independent clauses, why can’t we ?
It looks like Spanish-speaking writers don’t have a comma-splice rule, either. Spanish writers may not even have to bother with run-on sentences.