I realize this question has been done to death but I'm still questioning it.

The following sentence I feel does not contain a comma splice as the clause doesn't seem to hold up on its own:

Most European countries have proceeded with significant liberalization of financial law since the 1980s, Ireland being the latest example.

However, when I write it slightly differently, I'm pretty positive it is a comma splice.

Most European countries have proceeded with significant liberalization of financial law since the 1980s, Ireland is no exception.

Is this correct? And if so, why? Why does the continuous form make it not a comma splice. If it is indeed a comma splice, how would you punctuate it to capture the informal style of the author. An em dash, a semi-colon, a full-stop or and?

Thanks for the help.

  • Please define "comma splice" as you understand it.
    – tchrist
    Jan 14, 2019 at 16:26
  • The normal definition of a comma splice is a comma that separates two independent clauses. In your case, what comes after the comma could stand on its own as an independent clause. So, yes. The second example would normally be considered a comma splice. That doesn't necessarily mean that it's wrong to use it. however. Some instances of comma splices are acceptable. (Although in this case, my personal preference would be to add an and after it.) Jan 14, 2019 at 16:29
  • @JasonBassford "I came, I saw, and I conquered."
    – tchrist
    Jan 14, 2019 at 16:59
  • @tchrist That's not a comma splice because of the final conjunctive and. Without the and it would be. Jan 14, 2019 at 17:12
  • @JasonBassford Are you claiming that omitting the and would somehow be an error??
    – tchrist
    Jan 14, 2019 at 17:14

1 Answer 1


Ireland being the latest example is not in "the continuous form", which is constructed with a form of BE followed by the present participle. For that clause to "hold up on its own"—that is, constitute an independent clause—it would have to have that BE in a finite (tensed) form: in this case, the 3d person singular form is.

The clause is thus a subordinate clause, headed by a non-finite verbform, and the "comma splice rule" does not apply.

  • Feels a bit like a gerund clause appositive to the sentence's subject,
    – tchrist
    Jan 14, 2019 at 16:54
  • @tchrist Mmm ... I'd see it as a supplemental clause which in effect "modifies" the entire matrix clause. Ireland isn't an example of many European countries but of many European countries which have proceeded &c. Jan 14, 2019 at 17:00
  • Sure, I didn't say it was one, just that it had some of that feel. Certainly it applies to the entire independent clause not just the subject alone..
    – tchrist
    Jan 14, 2019 at 17:02

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