Re: comma or semicolon

Subject: Re: comma or semicolon
From: Stuart Burnfield <slb -at- FS -dot- COM -dot- AU>
Date: Wed, 26 Jul 1995 09:35:02 +0800

> Consider the following-----> At ABC company, we make products with the
> consumer in mind; products that aid in productivity and quality.

> Notice the semicolon. Would you change it to a comma, period, colon, or
> leave the semicolon.

> The reason i'm asking, 'cause everyone i ask seems to have a different
> opinion. (One of my books says a semicolon, the other a colon.)

Hi Timothy.

I use Strunk and White ("The Elements of Style") a lot to help when I
have this sort of question. They say:

- if the clauses are grammatically complete and not joined by a
conjunction, the proper mark is a semicolon.

This doesn't apply here as the second part ("Products that aid in
productivity and quality.") doesn't work as a separate sentence. It
is not grammatically complete.

They then say (I've cut this down a little):

- use the colon to introduce a list, an amplification, or a quotation.

Your second clause is an amplification. You're amplifying or giving more
details about what you mean by "products with the consumer in mind."
What you mean is that these products aid in productivity and quality.
So, it's an amplification and the best mark to use is a colon.

Some people might disagree, but for me, if I can't be certain I like
at least to be at least consistent. I find Strunk and White to be a
usually reliable second-last resort before I get out the flipping coin.

Stuart Burnfield (slb -at- fs -dot- com -dot- au) Voice: +61 9 328 8288
Functional Software Fax: +61 9 328 8616
PO Box 192
Leederville, Western Australia, 6903

ps. I got your message with a lot of mailer errors, I think because you
addressed it to techwr-1 rather than techwr-l.

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