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Consider the following two paragraphs:

The data was compelling. It appears that all of the companies abandoned that manufacturing method - with one exception - when it was determined to be less efficient.

The data was compelling. With one exception, it appears that all of the companies abandoned that manufacturing method when it was determined to be less efficient.

The idea being conveyed is that one company did not abandon a manufacturing method upon studying data. Both paragraphs convey this information, but in two different ways. I am curious as to which one is more correct if the criteria is proper English.

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  • There is no basic difference between using a single comma or paired em dashes in order to introduce nonessential information. It's purely a stylistic choice. Sep 5, 2018 at 17:34

1 Answer 1

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How about "all but one of the companies" etc.

I would drop the "it appears" because it seems like a needless hedge. Also, I would either drop the "when it was determined" part, or put it as a separate sentence. Also I would drop the "determined to be." It could indicate that the method has determination and chose to be less efficient.

The data was compelling. The manufacturing method was less efficient. All but one of the companies abandoned the method.

Presumably somewhere nearby you have established that there are several companies.

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    Great advice. The new sentence I'm going with is not exactly as your answer puppetsock, but I've borrowed your much better phrasing "all but one of the companies... ". Thanks. I tried to upvote but I don't have enough points yet. Will attempt to again later.
    – rwb
    Sep 5, 2018 at 17:23
  • Despite the positive reaction to this answer, it doesn't actually answer the question. Instead, it provides proofreading advice which is off topic here. The actual question is if there is a difference between using a single comma and a pair of em dashes when providing nonessential information. (The answer to which is, no. It's purely stylistic and a matter of personal preference.) Sep 5, 2018 at 17:32
  • It isn't necessarily helpful to provide answers in a "letter of the law" kind of manner. The poster was clearly asking how to present the idea, not only which of the two presented alternatives was correct.
    – puppetsock
    Sep 5, 2018 at 17:37

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