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Hi there,

Aspiring to be an advanced knowledge economy, Beijing needs the great majority, if not all, of our students to success, academically and professionally, though individuals may attain achievement at differeent paces.

1. Why did the writer put 'if not all' in the middle of the sentence? If I replace 'if not all', how can I do so to change it back to a normal sentence structure?

2. Why did the writer put a comma before 'though'? Is it necessary to do so?

Simon
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1. Beijing needs the great majority (almost all), if not all (perhaps even all), of our students [to be successful] ...
So Beijing needs almost all -- no, maybe Beijing needs all -- of the students ... The author has changed his mind in the middle of the sentence, or rather, he has pretended to do so to emphasize his point in an interesting style.

2. The comma is necessary in my opinion. The thought is essentially complete at the word professionally. The though clause is added as an extra idea, so a comma is used to help show this.

CJ
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Hi there,

thanks a lot. But if the idea completed, why did the writer simply a period before 'though'?

Simon
Placing a period there would leave the though clause hanging at the end by itself, and the though clause does not form a complete sentence of its own, so it cannot be detached from the sentence it is related to.

CJ
Hi there,

But I was told by my high teachers that 'though' means although, which should not go with a comma before it. Is it true?

Simon
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I'm not aware of any rule that says though or although must not be preceded by a comma under any circumstances. You will surely find though or although preceded by a comma in the writings of many fine authors.

CJ