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I am correcting technical writing for a friend of mine, and I am running into the issue of separating short lists.

Example: There is a relationship between NH and CH and CH and OH.

The sentence should make clear that the relationship exists between the first two and the last two, but not the two sets. What is the best way to clarify this sentence?

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    I would repeat the preposition. "There is a relationship between NH and CH and between CH and OH." – Val Sep 16 '14 at 17:28
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    @Val: +1. And then I would quickly replace the empty relation with something that indicates what relation you are talking about. Given any two things A and B, there is a relation between them. There is even a relation between any thing A and itself (i.e., A and B need not be distinct to enjoy a relation). – Drew Sep 16 '14 at 21:15
  • Thank you very much for the ideas! @ Drew The original sentence was simplified to exclude much of the technical language, including the exact nature of the relationship. – Kalysta2 Sep 17 '14 at 0:17
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Change the number of the subject (relationship) from singular to plural, change the number of the verb from singular to plural, and insert a comma after the first "CH"

There are relationships between NH and CH, and CH and OH.

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    In writing this is fine, but when spoken there's still potential for confusion. Not all people pause for the same amount of time, and a pause doesn't necessarily indicate a comma's supposed to be there. – Patrick87 Sep 16 '14 at 18:27
  • This is clearly better than without the comma, but I much prefer Val's "and between" preferably with a comma just before those two words. – almagest Sep 16 '14 at 19:15

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