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Would the first sentence using a comma be acceptable? Can this sentence be broken into two sentences, as in 2., or would that leave a sentence fragment? Or is 3. proper in its use of the em dash? Would someone mind explaining why a comma or separate sentences would be improper? I'm having a hard time grasping it. Thank you.

  1. I had to clean up the apartment, put the electricity service in my name, and find a new roommate, all without proper notice.

  2. I had to clean up the apartment, put the electricity service in my name, and find a new roommate. All without proper notice.

  3. I had to clean up the apartment, put the electricity service in my name, and find a new roommate―all without proper notice.

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  • The modern trend is towards less punctuation - including both discarding commas, and reducing "heavier" elements such as full stops and semicolons to "lighter" commas. So I'd say your first version is fine, even if some more traditional grammarians would object. I don't they'd complain about the other two, but it's essentially a stylistic choice between all three, imho. Apr 19, 2021 at 14:40

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There is no verb in 'all without proper notice', and hence example 2 contains a fragment.

Examples 1 and 3 are fine.

The difference between the em dash and the comma is that the former separates a strong interruption from the rest of the sentence, whereas the latter separates a weak interruption.

In our case here, the interruption seems strong, and my preference is hence the em dash.

http://www.sussex.ac.uk/informatics/punctuation/hyphenanddash/dash

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  • Using a sentence fragment in 2 would be very common in casual English, and also serves to provide emphasis of the last phrase. So it's not wrong except in very formal contexts.
    – Stuart F
    Oct 21, 2023 at 16:16

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