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  1. #1
    Allen165 is offline Key Member
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    Punctuation

    A sentence from an article published in the Columbia Law Review:

    "The initial focus of this Article is on one such form, namely, 'Supremacy Clause textualism'; that is, recent textualist claims about the Supremacy Clause of Article VI."

    Could anyone explain to me why there's a semicolon before "that is"? I would've used a comma because "that is, recent textualist claims about Supremacy Clause of Article VI." is a dependent clause. I suppose the Columbia Law Review might have its own usage guide that accepts such use of the semicolon.

    Thanks a lot.

  2. #2
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    mayita1usa is offline Member
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    Re: Punctuation

    Quote Originally Posted by Jasmin165 View Post
    ... I suppose the Columbia Law Review might have its own usage guide that accepts such use of the semicolon.
    Either that, or they just don't have a good proofreader!

    Quote Originally Posted by Jasmin165 View Post
    "The initial focus of this Article is on one such form, namely, 'Supremacy Clause textualism'; that is, recent textualist claims about the Supremacy Clause of Article VI."
    To answer your question, no, I have no explanation for the semi-colon either. The transitional phrase "that is" introduces the appositive (not dependent clause - there's no verb) "recent textualist claims.... Article VI." Normally, as you said, appositives are set off by commas (or dashes).

    But to be honest, I believe a sentence that requires this many commas is probably just a badly written sentence! In fact, when I tried to rewrite this one, I discovered that I couldn't even tell for sure what it was trying to say...

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