Which option is grammatically correct?

(a) After 16 hours, the amino acids in circulation will be depleted; consequently, the body starts to use its protein stores in the muscle tissue.

(b) After 16 hours, the amino acids in circulation will be depleted, consequently, the body starts to use its protein stores in the muscle tissue.

(c) After 16 hours, the amino acids in circulation will be depleted; so the body starts to use its protein stores in the muscle tissue.

(d) After 16 hours, the amino acids in circulation will be depleted, so, the body starts to use its protein stores in the muscle tissue.

Correct answer: (a)
Explanation: Here, “consequently” can function as if it were the start of a new sentence, and it should thus be preceded by a semicolon. “So” is a conjunction and would therefore be correct if it were preceded by and not followed by a comma, i.e. “…depleted, so the body starts …”.

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