Related to this question: When I have a phrase with two verb-plus-preposition combinations, describing the same noun, but requiring different prepositions, how should they be separated?

  1. Not at all:

    "I was conscious of and delighted with the answer from the stackexchange community"

  2. With em dashes:

    "I was conscious of—and delighted with—the answer from the stackexchange community"

  3. With commas:

    "I was conscious of, and delighted with, the answer from the stackexchange community"

  4. Some other way—single em dash, en dashes or hyphens, parentheses, colon/semicolon...

Similarly, what about one verb with a preposition and one without?

"Whether he was giving up—or accepting—an award..."

"Whether he was giving up or accepting an award..."

  • 1
    The additive or contrastive inserts are essentially parentheticals, so all of the usual offsetting punctuations are available (including zero punctuation). I'd use zero punctuation for short precursors to the parenthetical, but commas if needed to clarify ... unless I wanted a weightier offsetting, when dashes (I prefer spaced en-dashes, fine what with social distancing), brackets, and even ellipses are available. Commented Feb 4, 2022 at 11:56
  • Maybe just my opinion, but I think if optional intensifier indeed is included between or and accepting in OP's "award" example, that version is better suited to using [em-]dashes rather than commas to offset the "parenthetical" element. Dashes are "stronger", so they work better in emphatic contexts. But it's basically a matter of context whether the text from the conjunction (or, here) onwards should be treated as "parenthetical" or not - sometimes no separator at all is required anyway. Commented Feb 4, 2022 at 12:19


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