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"Hediger acquired a drone after losing half of her harvest in one year to weeds. She estimates that identifying problems faster with timely crop data and using less weed killer will save her tens of thousands of dollars in future years. Considerably more than the $7,000 she paid for the drone and any potential costs associated with reviewing images."

In order for the bolded section to be grammatically correct, do I need to use a semicolon (;) or an em dash (-)? I would also appreciate it if you could explain the reason why as well.

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  • You might be interested in the Lexico punctuation guide. Jul 24, 2019 at 14:33
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    A semicolon doesn't work because the string 'Considerably ... images.' does not constitute a main clause (a complete sentence). Not that it's not acceptable as it stands – sentence fragments used judiciously are seldom frowned upon in informal writing. Provided they're given capital letters (ie not after semicolons.) // A dash (we tend not to subcategorise in the UK) would also be fine in all registers. A colon would work identically, but they're considered old-fashioned. The dash (and the colon) are used to introduce further considerations (here the justification for the $7,000 overhead). Jul 24, 2019 at 14:44
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    You never need to use an em-dash. In this instance, a comma will do perfectly well (although an em-dash also works). Jul 24, 2019 at 15:20
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    @EdwinAshworth — Speak for yourself. Some if us in Britain still value traditional typography, having grown up with the stylesheets of publishers who cared for such things. I would always encourage people to aim high, not sink to the lowest common denominator.
    – David
    Jul 24, 2019 at 16:02
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    @marcellothearcane It's neither an em dash (—) nor an en dash (–) in the question. In fact, it's just a regular hyphen (-). Jul 24, 2019 at 17:37

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