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Consider this sentence from Bill Gate's book (Business @ the Speed of Thought: Using a Digital Nervous System)

We had to build an internet system that was so convenient, customers got more value for their time than they did on the phone.

There are two full sentence after and before comma! Is it correct? isn't it better to be:

We had to build an internet system that was so convenient, customers getting more value for their time than they did on the phone.

To make the second one ablative absolute? how do you analyze this sentence?

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    Grammatically it's a device often used. It was so hot that people were fainting. / It was so hot, people were fainting. The comma is needed when the 'that' is deleted, to avoid garden-pathiness or even ambiguity. However, I don't think the logic is great in this example, pairing rather disparate concepts (so convenient that it was cheaper than ...). Convenient usually costs more. – Edwin Ashworth Jun 9 '15 at 10:31
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I'm not sure there are 'two full sentences'. Would you consider We had to build an internet system that was so convenient. as a complete sentence?

However We had to build an internet system is a sentence. The relative pronoun that connects the important second clause. And it seems to me this is the pivot point.

Personally, I do not see the need for any punctuation. The which, that and the than are effectively doing the work of commas etc. But I might put a comma after system. I would say:

We had to build an internet system, which was so convenient that customers could get more value for their time than they could on the phone.

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    you mean: .... that was so convenient (that) customers could get .....? if you mean that there is a zero relative "that", so the the sentence in the book is puntuationally incorrect, isn't it? – Root Lopht Jun 9 '15 at 7:48
  • I agree the comma is not obligatory, but I wouldn't call it wrong to include it. The elided that makes for a (small) pause, which can be indicated by that comma. It's more of a style choice than grammar, of course. – oerkelens Jun 9 '15 at 7:52
  • as you know for so.....that..... construction it is not common to have zero relative! it seems that if the sentence is correct with that "," the ablative absolute structure would be a better choice! so you say that the "," is "that"? can you bring me a reference that that justify this position? thanks for your attention! – Root Lopht Jun 9 '15 at 7:52
  • @oerkelens I think a comma is quite out of place there. I agree there should be a pause. But the comma seems to me to interrupt the thought's sequence. Better, in my view to include the currently elided that. To avoid having two thats, separated by only three words, I would probably change the first one to which. – WS2 Jun 9 '15 at 8:11
  • @RootLopht: "as you know for so.....that..... construction it is not common to have zero relative! " No, I do not know that. "It rained so hard my house flooded" sounds like a completely normal sentence. I though so hard my head hurts, but I cannot see why it would be uncommon. – oerkelens Jun 9 '15 at 8:14

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