I am uncertain if and how to punctuate if I use only one sentence for the following idea:

We conducted two varieties of an experiment. First, we left used method A. Second, we used method B.

Can I write this in the following way.

We conducted the experiment, first with method A and second with method B.

Or should it be like this (which seems strange to me)

We conducted the experiment, first, with method A, and second, with method B.

  • What does "First, we left used method A" mean? Or is this a typo? – TrevorD Apr 15 '16 at 13:21

As a rule of them, you can avoid commas by re-arranging things.

We first conducted the experiment with method A, and then with method B.

  • Why is is necessary to use "firstly"? First functions just fine as an adverb without the suffix. – phoog Apr 15 '16 at 12:50
  • @phoog ... Correct. I've edited to remove. – jimm101 Apr 15 '16 at 12:52

The problem faced is the wordiness. "We conducted two varieties of experiments." The "A" and "B" are listed. Hence, listing them signifies two varieties were conducted.

Try this: We conducted the experiment with method A and method B.


Whenever I use commas, I think of them as pauses in the sentence. However, I believe that the proper way to do this is:

We conducted the experiment; first with method A, and second with method B.

  • 1
    The semicolon is incorrect because the part following it is not a complete sentence. – phoog Apr 15 '16 at 12:46
  • I agree with phoog, but you could use a colon or an em-dash. – TrevorD Apr 15 '16 at 13:22

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