Joining Independent Clauses

In the novels I’ve been reading lately, I’ve been noticing a lot of sentences made up of two independent clauses that are joined with a comma. I know, I know. (See what I just did there?) This is sometimes okay, but often this construction screams out “comma splice!” I went looking for an authority to enlighten me on this.

That’s where the usage guide I was perusing, Karen Elizabeth Gordon’s Deluxe Transitive Vampirecame in handy. Gordon states that joining independent clauses with a comma is perfectly fine when the clauses are similar in construction or when the clauses have a casual lilt, as I suppose my sentence above illustrates (I know, I know.). Gordon gives the example of “Have gun, will travel,” among other suitably dark and steamy sentences worthy of her goth tome. Quite a fun romp — especially as it was preceded by my first time with Strunk and White!

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