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I've seen some topics related to this correlative pair 'not only..., but also ...', but I'm still not quite sure if it's correct to use a comma without any conjunction in the following construction:

"The American commoditization of time not only serves as the basis for a "time is money" mentality, it can lead to a fixation on timelines that plays right into the hands of smart negotiators from other cultures".

In this excerpt, the comma between 'mentality' and 'it can lead' joins the two independent clauses without any conjunction. Can we use commas to join two clauses without any conjunction?

I was thinking that the conjunction 'but' should separate those clauses, because 'not only..., but also ...' is a correlative pair, so it is always used as a set. Am I wrong? Or I guess there should be at least a semicolon between them.

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In your query sentence, I would regard the segment I have marked off with curly brackets simply as a sort of emphatic preamble or introduction to the clause that follows it:

"The American commoditization of time { not only serves as the basis for a "time is money" mentality }, [it] can lead to a fixation on timelines that plays right into the hands of smart negotiators from other cultures."

This seems to me to be a more useful way of analysing the sentence than trying to find an explanation for the supposedly anomalous absence of a conjunction or semicolon.

  • You mean the segment in "curly brackets"? I don't really understand how the segment including a subject 'it' can act as an emphatic preamble in a sentence. Is it grammatically okay to use the correlative pair "not only .. but" without the conjuction "but"? So the sentence goes to "The American commoditizatin of time can lead to a fixation on timelines." Am I right? quite confusing to me... – cellardoor May 18 '15 at 5:05
  • Thanks for the corrections. I've adjusted the position of the closing curly bracket so that it encloses only the emphatic preamble. The 'it' that I have enclosed in square brackets stands in for the main subject of the sentence. – Erik Kowal May 18 '15 at 5:12

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