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I was asking a question and while formulating the content, I made the following sentence/phrase:

What I am facing trouble with, is; referencing....

Is my usage of comma(,) and semi-colon(;) correct? Or is (one of?) the following usage correct:

  1. What I am facing trouble with is; referencing ## No comma after what
  2. What I am facing trouble with; is; referencing ## Semicolon after what and is
  3. What I am facing trouble with, is, referencing ## Comma after what and is

The entire sentence(currently) is

What I am facing trouble with, is; referencing the subfid field in bsmsgs to new id values in buynsell correctly referencing and stored in bns_id of replies table.

Here is the link to actual question.

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  • Could you write a complete sentence example? I have an idea but I'm not sure about your usage of "referencing" along with what comes after that. – user485 Apr 6 '13 at 21:11
  • @user3169 Edited question! – hjpotter92 Apr 6 '13 at 21:15
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You don't need any punctuation in that sentence. (Well, okay, other than the period).

What I am facing trouble with is referencing [x].

This doesn't feel like a fleshed out answer, but I'm not sure what else to add. A possible example of a full sentence with this construction could be:

What I am facing trouble with is knowing when to speak and when to remain silent.

What I am facing trouble with is learning how to spell words in other languages.

I'll also add that a more common way to phrase this would be:

What I am having trouble with...

Although facing is perfectly acceptable.


Edited to respond to the updated example sentence you added. There is quite a lot wrong with that sentence, actually. I've edited below to the best of my ability; please let me know if I've misinterpreted something.

What I am facing trouble with is referencing the subfid field in bsmsgs to new id values in buynsell while correctly referencing and storing them in the bns_id field of the replies table.

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  • Even if I want to stress more on the question following is? – hjpotter92 Apr 6 '13 at 21:26
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    Yes. If you want to be able to add punctuation to separate it, you can say "What I am having trouble with is this: referencing...". Once you add the "this", you can use the semicolon to offset the clauses. – WendiKidd Apr 6 '13 at 21:27
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I would rather say "I am facing trouble with […]." Keeping your phrasing, I would say "What I am facing trouble with is […]."

There isn't any need to put a comma before the verb, and I think a comma should never be put between the subject, and the verb (if not in the case of a parenthetical introduced by a comma).

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