What punctuation to use when listing things

what punctuation to use when listing things

The Comma Before And In A List Avoids Misunderstandings

Punctuation is used to separate the items in the list. The usual way of doing this is to place a comma after each item in the list: The school has a vegetable garden in which the children grow cabbages, onions, potatoes, and carrots. The last item in a list is often preceded by the words and or or. Some writers and publishers always put a comma before the word and or or but it isn’t wrong to leave it out. Jan 27,  · The comma before the word and in a list of three or more things is the Oxford comma. It’s also called the Serial comma. Writers use it to separate the last item in a list to avoid uncertainty or misunderstandings. One classic example that is often quoted is, to my parents, Ayn Rand, and God.

Home Grammar Punctuation How to use punctuation in lists. Punctuation has two main roles to play in the presentation of lists of items. Punctuation is used to separate the items in the list. The usual way of doing this is to place a comma after each item in the list:.

Ppunctuation school has a vegetable garden in which the children what year was the u s bill of rights ratified cabbages, onions, potatoes, and carrots.

The last item in a list is often preceded by the words and or or. The important thing is to be consistent throughout any piece of writing.

If each item in the list is quite long, semicolons can pnuctuation used instead of commas:. If the list of items is quite a long one, you also need to use punctuation to introduce it. You can use a colonas in the example above:. For the more energetic, there are lots of summer outdoor activities—mountain biking, whale watching, ocean kayaking, windsurfing, and golf.

How to use punctuation in lists Punctuation has two main roles to play in the presentation of lists of items.

To separate the items in a list Punctuation is used punctuaation separate the items in the list. The usual way of doing this is to place a comma after each item in the list: The school has a vegetable garden in which the children grow cabbages, onions, potatoes, and carrots. To introduce a list of items If the list of items is quite a long one, you also need to use punctuation to introduce it.

Alternatively, you could use an em dash : For the more energetic, there are lots of summer outdoor activities—mountain biking, whale watching, ocean kayaking, windsurfing, and golf.

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Dec 05,  · There are three punctuation marks involved in making a list in a sentence: the comma, colon, and semicolon. Which you use depends on how complex your list is. 3) The colon is the other useful option besides the comma. You can use a colon for lists. There are two types of insects: white and black. However, if a dependent clause comes afterwards, it changes the meaning of the sentence. There are two types of insects: white and black, on my kitchen table.

It only takes a minute to sign up. Connect and share knowledge within a single location that is structured and easy to search. This is simpler and more common than the semicolon. However, in this case, it would be the most complicated option, and it is better to avoid it and better to create another sentence instead of an unwieldy one.

There are two types of insects, moths, the white insects, and beetles, the black insects, on my kitchen table. There are two types of insects; moths, the white insects; and beetles, the black insects; on my kitchen table. There are two kinds of insects; the white insects and the black insects are on my kitchen table.

From Nishant's example, I would put a comma before the conjunction between "the white insect is white in color" and "the black insect is black in color" because they are two independent clauses:. There are two kinds of insects; the white insect is white in color, and the black insect is black in color. This above sentence says that there are only two types of insects in existence, and they all live on "my kitchen table".

If you wanted the same meaning as "There are two types of insects, white and black, on my kitchen table", then you would have to move the dependent clause before the colon. Although the above sentence is unrecommended, it is still correct because logically, a list of two items white and black will describe the "two types of insects" rather than the one kitchen table. The colon is more appropriate since you're presenting a list. If you wanted to use the semicolon however, it would look something like this:.

There are two kinds of insects; the white insect is white in color and the black insect is black in color. Sign up to join this community. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top. Stack Overflow for Teams — Collaborate and share knowledge with a private group. Create a free Team What is Teams? Learn more. What punctuation belongs before a list?

Ask Question. Asked 10 years, 2 months ago. Active 4 years, 3 months ago. Viewed k times. Improve this question. Open the way Open the way 1 1 gold badge 1 1 silver badge 3 3 bronze badges. Add a comment. Active Oldest Votes. List form: In your question, you provided an ordered list. In list form, I would only use the colon. There are two types of insects: a white b black Sentence form: 1 In addition to the semicolon and colon, you could also use a comma.

There are two types of insects, white and black. I prefer commas when there is a dependent clause afterwards. There are two types of insects, white and black, on my kitchen table. With commas: There are two types of insects, moths, the white insects, and beetles, the black insects. With semicolons: There are two types of insects; moths, the white insects; and beetles, the black insects. In another case, I would use a semicolon for independent clauses: There are two kinds of insects; the white insects and the black insects are on my kitchen table.

From Nishant's example, I would put a comma before the conjunction between "the white insect is white in color" and "the black insect is black in color" because they are two independent clauses: There are two kinds of insects; the white insect is white in color, and the black insect is black in color.

You can use a colon for lists. There are two types of insects: white and black. However, if a dependent clause comes afterwards, it changes the meaning of the sentence.

There are two types of insects: white and black, on my kitchen table. Recommended: On my kitchen table, there are two types of insects: white and black. Try to keep the colon as close as possible to what it is listing about. Unrecommended: There are two types of insects on my kitchen table: white and black. Improve this answer.

XP1 XP1 1 1 silver badge 4 4 bronze badges. F'x F'x Where does this definition come from? If you wanted to use the semicolon however, it would look something like this: There are two kinds of insects; the white insect is white in color and the black insect is black in color.

The semicolon essentially preserves the flow of thought within a sentence. Nishant Nishant 1 1 gold badge 5 5 silver badges 10 10 bronze badges. In many cases, a semi-colon is a tool for joining two clauses that could each be a free-standing sentence; your example illustrates the point nicely as each side of the semi-colon could be a separate sentence.

And, not entirely accidentally, the two halves of my previous sentence, of course, could also each be a free-standing sentence. They are closely connected, though, and the semi-colon is very useful to indicate that.

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