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If I have one brother named Frank, one sister named Danielle, and one wife named Theresa, is the following sentence punctuated correctly with the commas and semicolons? Please, just yes or no — minus the extraneous commentary or questions like "Why are you writing it like that?" Could we please just answer the questions directly?

My brother, Frank; my sister, Danielle; and my wife, Theresa, attended the meeting at Town Hall.

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  • This is yet another question that could easily be answered by consulting a manual of style.
    – David M
    Commented Mar 2, 2014 at 6:28
  • Today, most likely, I'd think that most publications would consider that type of punctuation to be unacceptable.
    – F.E.
    Commented Mar 2, 2014 at 6:32
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    Perhaps consider: "My brother Frank, my sister Danielle, and my wife Theresa attended the meeting at Town Hall." -- (and it doesn't matter how many brothers or sisters you might have).
    – F.E.
    Commented Mar 2, 2014 at 6:34
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    "punctuated correctly" -- Yes, period.
    – Kris
    Commented Mar 2, 2014 at 10:07
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    @F.E. The OP expressly excluded alternatives, suggestions, opinions, comments and the paraphernalia.
    – Kris
    Commented Mar 2, 2014 at 10:07

1 Answer 1

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Yes. This is correct. Semicolons are used to separate lists that contain items that already use a comma.

And, I have found the perfect reference for this, see The Oatmeal - How to Use a Semicolon - Scroll down to Super. Just a word of warning, this a humorous, but accurate bit of reference material. (I don't believe it contains anything offensive.)

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  • But it's also one particular style preference rather than Gospel (see F.E.'s comment 1 above). OP's question can't be unequivocally resolved by 'consulting a manual of style'. Commented Mar 2, 2014 at 9:03
  • @EdwinAshworth unequivocal in style? Since when did that exist? OP asked for no revisions or alternatives. Hence, go check a manual of style. If they wanted an exhaustive (and exhausting) debate they could look that up as well. Like all matters of style, as long as it's recognized and used consistently, it's correct (even if not exclusively correct).
    – David M
    Commented Mar 2, 2014 at 12:49
  • @EdwinAshworth the actual point of my comment was that this poster is a serial poster of this type of question, and they have been clogging up the close queue. I personally have cast votes on at least 20 like this.
    – David M
    Commented Mar 2, 2014 at 12:55
  • "Serial poster"? Sounds ominous. Commented Mar 2, 2014 at 13:46
  • Right; that's a problem with the site. But there are those who claim that the 'super-comma' use of the semicolon is wrong. This goes beyond agreeing to differ over preferred style. And, more generally, some style guides sound like they're laying down the law. And some people then go on to echo the particular style guide they've hit upon. Commented Mar 2, 2014 at 15:22

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