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Are the punctuation and grammar correct in all these variations?

  • A: The boss, Mike, is a bully; the way that he talks to you, and the way that he talks to his employees, it’s not right.

  • B: Mick, the boss, is a bully; it’s the way he talks to you, and the way he talks to his employees: it is not right.

  • C: Sadly, Mike is a bully. The way that he talks to his employees and you, it’s not right.

  • D: Sadly, your boss is a bully; the way he talks to his employees, and you, it’s not right.

In the sentence “D”, is there a way to put the word “Mike” next to the word “your boss”?

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  • You can say: is not right, instead of it's not right.
    – Lambie
    Apr 3, 2023 at 18:10
  • It depends on how closely the two sentences (main clauses) are related and what the relationship is. This is a matter of writerly judgment. If entirely separate, a period; if the second is an expansion of the first, consider a colon; if they're in contrast, a dash maybe.
    – Stuart F
    Sep 1, 2023 at 9:34

2 Answers 2

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None of the examples are punctuated correctly.

A) contains a "comma splice". You can't simply join two independent clauses with a comma.

The boss, Mike, is a bully; the way that he talks to you, and the way that he talks to his employees >>,<< it’s not right.

You must write:

The way that he talks to you, and the way that he talks to his employees is not right.

or

It's not right how the talks to you and his employees.

If you are writing dialogue, you might use an emdash:

The way that he talks to you and to his employees - it’s not right.

(B) is also an inappropriate splice, this time misusing the semicolon.

Mick, the boss, is a bully >>;<< it’s the way he talks to you, and the way he talks to his employees: it is not right.

Instead, write:

Mick, the boss, is a bully. The way he talks to you and his employees is not right.

You must break up two independent clauses or use a connective. If you used a connective such as 'and':

The boss is a bully, and the way he talks to you and his employees is not right.

(C) is close to natural and correctly punctuated, but again the "comma splice" is present.

Sadly, Mike is a bully. The way that he talks to his employees and you >>,<< it’s not right.

Apply the same remedy here:

The way that he talks to you and his employees is not right.

In (D):

Sadly, your boss is a bully; the way he talks to his employees, and you, it’s not right.

Comma splice again, but also another comma that should be deleted, after "employees".

You can read more about the "comma splice" and how to avoid it here: https://www.grammarly.com/blog/comma-splice/

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  • Comma splices are hated by pedants who like inventing rules, but they're very common and a matter of stylistic preference. See for instance this question on English Language and Usage or several others. Personally, I'd use a colon to join the sentences.
    – Stuart F
    Sep 1, 2023 at 9:32
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    Your opinions here do not change the fact that this would be marked wrong on standardized exams and make you less likely to be hired in a job requiring written communication skills. You do a great disservice to English learners to tell them to write comma splices. Yes, it is used in informal, colloquial speech, and as a matter of style. But, one must learn the basic rules before one can break them appropriately. (And in particular, the comma splices above would never be appropriate....)
    – BadZen
    Sep 8, 2023 at 11:15
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None of (A) thru (D) are grammatically wrong or unnatural.

On (B) "it is not right.* seems slightly off.Perhaps simply changingm to the contracted form:it's not right" would improve things.

On (D) "Sadly, your boss is a bully;" could become Sadly, your boss, Mike, is a bully;"

On all but (C) one could replace the semi-colon with a period and create two valid sentences. That is a matter of style.

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  • Thank you for answering!
    – Piermo
    Nov 23, 2022 at 7:08

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