For example,

I like chocolate, vanilla, and lemon and orange ice cream.

Indicating "lemon and orange" is a combined flavor, as an item in the list needing an initial and.

  • 2
    Though not directly related to your question, you could use an ampersand in conjunction with the word "and", like so: "I like chocolate, vanilla, and lemon & orange ice cream." I find that when writing such sentences, this helps to distinguish the individual items of a list somewhat.
    – Alexander
    Jan 17, 2013 at 4:12
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    The ampersand is normally limited to company names. It is a solecism elsewhere. Jan 17, 2013 at 8:16
  • @BE: The ampersand is now less common in formal writing (Wikipedia) - thus it is still used in formal writing. betterwritingskills.com/tip-w002.html recommends: Do not use an ampersand in general writing simply to abbreviate the word and. This is not what Alex is recommending; '@' seems acceptable when space is limited, and disambiguation and clarification are key requirements of writing. I dare to use a semi-colon as a 'supercomma' on occasion. And 'solecism' is confusing - 'a grammatical mistake or absurdity, or even simply a non-standard usage' (Wikipedia). Jan 17, 2013 at 9:10
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    "I've got two guns, a Heckler & Koch, and a Smith & Wesson."
    – SF.
    Jan 17, 2013 at 13:13
  • 1
    Does this answer your question? How to punctuate "A and B and C" properly if "B and C" form a set May 23, 2022 at 13:01

6 Answers 6


I can use one and and another and, and still another and. I can use many ands in the same sentence, and so can you. And on and on and on.

I might hyphenate lemon-and-orange ice cream, though, in your particular case.

  • All occurrences of an italicized "and" in your comment are not its use. And this sentence does not have any cheese in it.
    – prash
    Jan 17, 2013 at 2:51
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    And the unitalicized ones are examples of its use. The italicized ones are meant to be humorous, not cheesy.
    – Robusto
    Jan 17, 2013 at 3:29
  • Just because you can, doesn't mean you should... Your example sentence is rather convoluted, despite being perfectly valid and correct! :)
    – Alexander
    Jan 17, 2013 at 4:23
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    @Alexander: That is why it is an example sentence. It pushes the boundaries to make a point.
    – Robusto
    Jan 17, 2013 at 11:28
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    One has to "get the joke" to understand this. On my first reading I parsed italic 'and' as emphasis. The reason that's so confusing is that it almost works (kind of like a garden path sentence)! Now I see the sentence as, "I can use one word and another word, and still another word." Seeing it that way, I'm upvoting this answer. :) Feb 20, 2015 at 17:20

You can repeat and as often as you like if you think it conveys your meaning. There is no rule of English grammar that limits its use. The placing of a comma after vanilla makes all the difference. Without it, the sentence leaves open the possibility that your preference is not for lemon and orange ice cream, but for vanilla and lemon ice cream.


You certainly can use "and" more than once in a sentence, but in this case I would consider rewording it somehow instead. I would definitely not use an ampersand. Actually, I think removing the second "and" would make the meaning much clearer. Try: "I like chocolate, vanilla and lemon-orange ice cream."


The sentence is correct as written and does indicate that lemon and orange is to be treated as unit comparable to chocolate. However it may be unclear to some readers, and resists being read quickly.

You might want to consider using lemon-orange to describe the flavor. It is unabiguous and scans quickly and easily.

  • 3
    I usually read the slash as 'or' rather than 'and.' Maybe I'm alone in that, but if not, there may be some meaning lost.
    – user867
    Jan 17, 2013 at 3:41
  • I agree that there is an ambiguity in the use of lemon/orange. Jan 17, 2013 at 8:51
  • In light of comments, I agree that the / could be ambiguous. Changed answer to use - instead. Similar to @robusto suggestion.
    – bib
    Jan 17, 2013 at 18:39
  • Even so, the phrase is ambiguous. At first read, I understood it as the asker liking three things: 1) chocolate; 2) vanilla; 3) lemon-(and-)orange ice cream—it was only on the second or third read that I realised that chocolate and vanilla were most likely also meant to be ice cream flavours, rather than just generic flavours. This ambiguity can only be removed by recasting the phrase: “My favourite ice cream flavours are chocolate, vanilla, and lemon-(and-)orange”. Oct 27, 2013 at 0:05

The general guidance is that the combinations are the first element and have a noun. The second, separate, element has a repeated noun:

A: "What ice cream do you like?"

B: "I like lemon and orange ice cream,[pause] and chocolate ice cream and vanilla."


I prefer "and" when connecting clauses and an ampersand when connecting something within that clause. For example "I like chocolate, vanilla, and lemon & orange, ice cream."

  • 1
    What's with the, last comma? And you also forgot to answer the question.
    – RegDwigнt
    Oct 27, 2013 at 13:21

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