0

In this sentence

In conclusion, the reading claims that minimum wage is harmful to the companies, which the lecturer contradicts by providing three points –which form a compelling argument, to illustrate his viewpoint.

Is it grammatical to use "–" before which? And if so, should I replace the comma at the end of the same clause with an em dash as well? Or should I only use commas to set off the clause?

  • 1
    Too many which and too many points... In conclusion, the reading claims that minimum wage is harmful to the companies, contradicted by the lecturer in three points, which together form a compelling argument illustrating his view. – mplungjan Oct 15 '13 at 11:40
  • 1
    Looks like proof-reading. We're getting rather a lot of these. – Barrie England Oct 15 '13 at 11:43
  • @BarrieEngland you know, proof reading is good B-) – Marco Dinatsoli Oct 15 '13 at 11:45
  • But proof-reading is off-topic on this site. This question would be more suitable at English Language Learners – TrevorD Oct 15 '13 at 11:50
  • 2
    If you put one dash (—) in that sentence, you need to put another in. That is, the phrase "which form a compelling argument" should be set off by two dashes or by two commas, but not by one of each. If you set it off by commas, the sentence becomes confusing because you have too many which clauses separated by commas. This is a good reason for either using dashes or rewriting the sentence. – Peter Shor Oct 15 '13 at 11:51
2

If we set aside the structure of the sentence (which I think could be improved), you can put an em-dash there, but if you do, you should also replace the comma at the end of the clause, thusly:

In conclusion, the reading claims that minimum wage is harmful to the companies, which the lecturer contradicts by providing three points—which form a compelling argument—to illustrate his viewpoint.

Putting em-dashes there makes it sound as though you are surprised that the three points form a compelling argument.

If you use commas instead, they should also match:

In conclusion, the reading claims that minimum wage is harmful to the companies, which the lecturer contradicts by providing three points, which form a compelling argument, to illustrate his viewpoint.

In this instance, commas are appropriate because the clause is parenthetical. However, I don't think you really mean to have a parenthetical clause there, so you might try something like:

In conclusion, the reading claims that minimum wage is harmful to the companies, which the lecturer contradicts by providing three points that form a compelling argument to illustrate his viewpoint.

Which would avoid the issue entirely.

  • so what is better : In conclusion, the reading claims that minimum wage is harmful to the companies, which the lecturer contradicts by providing three points that form a compelling argument to illustrate his viewpoint. OR In conclusion, the reading claims that minimum wage is harmful to the companies, contradicted by the lecturer in three points, which together form a compelling argument illustrating his view ? please help me i have a toeff tomorrow – Marco Dinatsoli Oct 15 '13 at 13:46
  • Either is fine. It depends on whether "form a compelling argument to illustrate his viewpoint" is important or not. – Jarvis the Bot Oct 15 '13 at 13:52
  • yes it is very important – Marco Dinatsoli Oct 15 '13 at 16:35

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.