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Consider this (partial) sentence:

Literary devices such as the alliteration in “that they” and “with ‘Why’”, the simile in “the pipes like great serpents”, the assonance in “not known before”, and the personification in “she'd stop…” are used to preserve the idea of...

Are commas used correctly?

closed as unclear what you're asking by Erik Kowal, choster, Ellie Kesselman, Mari-Lou A, keshlam May 10 '15 at 5:13

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  • Welcome to the English SE. What sentence are you talking about? – Maroon May 8 '15 at 3:05
  • Please note that questions of the form "is the sentence grammatically correct?" are expressly off-topic here. Please note further that Stack Exchange works best when you limit your questions to exactly one question per question. Also, note that two of your three questions cannot be answered without further context. Lastly, note that there are other problems with the sentence you haven't even asked about. But again, we can't point them out because we don't do proofreading here. In the future, please take such questions to our chat instead, where they can be discussed in depth. Thank you. – RegDwigнt May 8 '15 at 9:11
  • If there are other problems with the sentence, could you please explain them? – Mike May 8 '15 at 11:49
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  1. I don't see any grammatical or syntactical problems with the partial sentence you quote above. The worst you could say of it is that it has the makings of an extremely long-winded whole sentence.

  2. I think you're better off without a "The" at the beginning of the sentence—especially if you haven't just finished talking about these same literary devices. Including a definite article here would imply that we've already been introduced to them in the recent past.

  3. The commas work in this instance because you don't have anything but series commas in the parallel portion of the quoted sentence. If you had nested commas performing other functions within the parallel phrases, you would probably be better off using semicolons to mark the end of each parallel branch of the construction, so the nested commas could unambiguously perform their functions within each branch.

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