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  1. #1
    keannu's Avatar
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    Default reduce their payrolls so that

    1. I think this semicolon should be replaced by a colon. I think the relationship between "to downsize" and "reduce the number of employees" is further explanation or appositive, which needs a colon. What do you think?
    2. Does this "so that" function as a result? Then, why isn't it ", so that" with a comma?

    pr18
    ex)Many companies have found that the easiest way to increase their productivity is to downsize; reduce the number of employees. This helps them to reduce their payrolls so that, if they can maintain their sales revenue, they have more profit at the end of the year...

  2. #2
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    Default Re: reduce their payrolls so that

    In my opinion, the semi-colon is not proper there. I'd used an em-dash, and I'd say "to reduce" instead of just "reduce."

    It's made more awkward by the repetition of the word "reduce" in the in the beginning of the next sentence.

    It would look overly fussy with a comma before "so that" since the parenthetical phrase "if they can maintain their sales revenue" is also set off by commas.

    You seem very interested in semi-colons. Really, they aren't that common. I use them only when two independent clauses are so closely related that it seems odd to make them separate sentences (rare) and to separate items in a list when individual items have commas within them (even more rare).

    The over-use of semi-colons will make your writing look unnatural.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

  3. #3
    keannu's Avatar
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    Default Re: reduce their payrolls so that

    Thanks a lot! I'd like to use proper numbers of punctuation to express my ideas well, and to make my writing neater and impressive. But I haven't known how to, and one of them seems to be using punctuation, so that's why I'm learning it.

    You said you'd use em-dash for further explanation, and both dash and colon seem to be used for it. Is dash more emphatic than colon in terms of further explanation or appositives?

  4. #4
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    Default Re: reduce their payrolls so that

    Many people find the em-dash more informal and a colon more formal. Actually, colons are even more rare than semi-colons.

    A lot of punctuation is style instead of grammar. Certainly there are things that are out-and-out wrong if you do them (or fail to do them), but an awful lot of it is up to the writer.

    Do you think you'd pause in speech? A comma might work. It may not be required. It may even be "officially" wrong. But if you are a reader and it helps you navigate the sentence, it's a good thing.

    On the other hand, if your sentence is so long that you need what others would say is unnecessary/wrong punctuation, perhaps you need to rewrite your sentence.

    A useful article I read once talked about punctuation as being road signs for your read. When you see one, it tells you something about the road ahead. A semi-colon says "I've finished one thought, but I have another thought that is so closely linked that I want you to keep this first thing in mind."
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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