From today's newspaper:
"Apple is one of--if not the--largest holding by many individual investors, says SigFig."
In this sentence, the words between the em dashes (the --) are being emphasized, or at least they would be if the punctuation were correct. If you stick something in the middle of a sentence for emphasis, you need to be able to remove the em dashes and everything between them (the removal test), and the sentence needs to still make sense. Let's see what happens when we do this with our sentence:
"Apple is one of largest holding by many individual investors, says SigFig."
That's not right. In fact, it's downright criminal!
Let's fix it:
"Apple is one of the largest--if not the largest--holdings by many individual investors, says SigFig."
We had to repeat a word, but the new sentence is better. If we do the removal test, we end up with a coherent sentence:
"Apple is one of the largest holdings by many individual investors, says SigFig."
Of course, the sentence would probably sound better if we remove the passive "by" construction, but I'll hold off on complaining about that.
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