Punctuation help!!


Could anyone help with punction in this sentence? Is this correct?


Long-term liabilities like the Apple, Inc. commitment are risky, therefore, it is necessary for Sprint to retain and attract new customers in order to be successful in the future.

asked Mar 12 '12 at 21:30 Abraham Garcia New member

1 answer


I'm going to throw a few other thoughts in to help clear this sentence up some.  It feels wrong to you, correct?  Otherwise you would not have asked the question.  I'll agree right away that the "Inc." is not necessary to your meaning, given that Apple is well known and shown here as a proper name.


First, the sentence begins with "Long-term liabilities..."  You immediately follow with a noun used as an adjective: "...the Apple, Inc. commitment..."  This plays with our sensibilities by masking what is actually important and what you actually mean.  You intended that the long-term liabilities be demonstrated by the commitment to Apple.  As phrased, "the Apple, Inc. commitment" is awkward and has your reader stumbling a bit.  The long-term liability isn't demonstrated by the Apple, but instead by the commitment to Apple.  In order to save yourself the trouble of writing the word "to," you've put distance between what you are trying to use in the demonstration.  The benefit does not outweigh the cost.  This phrase reads a million times easier as follows:


"Long-term liabilities like the commitment to Apple..."


The second point I would make is that the demonstration is actually an aside and should be separated by commas entirely.  Your point is that the long-term liabilities are risky, and you use the commitment to Apple as an example.  That example should be separated out as such:


"Long-term liabilities, like the commitment to Apple, are risky..."


Maybe it is my own personal style, but the phrase "it is [adjective]" is a pet peeve.  It says absolutely nothing and weakens any sentence.  Your subject is a preposition and your verb is the weakest verb out there.  This begs the reader to figure out what you're saying through placeholders.  "It is necessary for..." is a wordy phrase that moves the actual actor of the longer phrase further away from its primary position without saying anything important.  You've shaved off the word "to" in the first part of this sentence, only to add four meaningless words later.  

Your whole sentence basically states that the actor must do action x, in order to accomplish goal y, because of situation z.  You've structured that a little differently:  Because of z, actor must x, in order to achieve y.  And that structure is perfectly fine.  It emphasizes z heavily, which may be your intent.  So when we get down to business, let's simply say it that way:


the actor is Sprint;

x is retaining and attracting new customers (and I disagree with Tolley, both are important in meaning here.  Once you attract a new customer, you want to retain that new customer.  Perhaps switching the order to make it more logical might help)

y is future success

z is the risk of long-term liabilities


Based on those thoughts, I would rewrite your sentence as follows:


"Because long-term liabilities, like the commitment to Apple, are risky, Sprint must attract and retain new customers in order to be successful in the future."

link comment answered Mar 15 '12 at 19:07 Rik Kluessendorf Contributor

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