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For example, in the sentence

The cost is anticipated to be $1,000,000, inclusive of pre-construction costs.

is it appropriate to use a comma after $1,000,000 or should a semicolon be used?

3 Answers 3

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The comma is fine there. (A semicolon would be ungrammatical.) It's just a matter of preference.

If you wished, you could reverse the sentence so that the dependent clause comes first:

Inclusive of pre-construction costs, the cost is anticipated to be $1,000,000.

However, that draws attention to the repetitive use of cost.

To address that, you could make another change:

Including pre-construction, the cost is anticipated to be $1,000,000.

Or simply:

The total cost is anticipated to be $1,000,000.


You could also leave the structure of the sentence as is but not use a numeral:

The cost is anticipated to be a million dollars, inclusive of pre-construction costs.
The cost is anticipated to be a million dollars, including pre-construction.
The total cost is anticipated to be a million dollars.

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  • "The cost is anticipated to be a million dollars, inclusive of pre-construction costs." This is how I would write it. Oct 12, 2018 at 22:32
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The only possible reason to not put punctuation next to a number is if the punctuation could introduce confusion about the number's value. For example, if you put a hyphen before a number, it would look like the number's negative.

But there's no way that could happen with a comma, so your sentence is fine.

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A semicolon is often preferred, but the choice is a matter of style. Here is an example of semicolon use as a separator with large numbers. It is from a popular style guide. It also happens to be the part that tells you to write-out one million dollars.

The Chicago Manual of Style recommends spelling out the numbers zero through one hundred and using figures thereafter—except for whole numbers used in combination with hundred, thousand, hundred thousand, million, billion, and beyond (e.g., two hundred; twenty-eight thousand; three hundred thousand; one million). In Chicago style, as opposed to AP style, we would write four hundred, eight thousand, and twenty million with no numerals—but like AP, Chicago style would require numerals for 401; 8,012; and 20,040,086.

There are other examples nearby in the text.

From The Grammar Book - https://www.grammarbook.com/numbers/numbers.asp

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    Personally, I found the last two semicolons in the quoted paragraph to be a bit jarring. I would have preferred commas. On the other hand, I found the two previous uses of commas in lists on that page to be completely natural, even when the list is all words with no commas (as it is earlier in the quoted paragraph).
    – David K
    Oct 12, 2018 at 21:48
  • ... we would write twenty million, three hundred thousand, and four hundred with no numerals ?!? :P
    – AmI
    Oct 13, 2018 at 6:23

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