For low-complexity ML detection, breadth-first approaches, such as ... , have been chosen as a reasonable alternative..."

There are three examples of said breadth-first approaches, which appear in the following form:

A (item 1)

B and C (item 2)

D (item 3)

Should I use semicolons to separate these three items? As in

A; B and C; and D

  • The above is a specific case of a more general question that I meant to ask about. For example, within a parenthetical element, should the items of a series be separated by commas or semicolons, regardless of whether one of the items contains a compound term joined by the word "and"? Commented Jan 26, 2016 at 2:31
  • For example, ", such as A, B, and C, ..." or ", such as A; B; and C, ..."? Commented Jan 26, 2016 at 2:32
  • 1
    Use a comma unless the list gets complicated. A list of single items can always (should I say, almost?) fine to separate with just a comma. In your specific example, a semicolon would be preferred because B and C are a compound unit; and that's only because it makes it easier to read/parse.
    – Tim Ward
    Commented Jan 26, 2016 at 2:46
  • While it is true that the semicolon can be used to separate list items, it is generally only worth doing if a comma or two is required, perhaps for setting off parenthetical material, within one or more of the items. (This is not the case when one of the items is "B & C.") If this condition applies when the entire list is contained within some sort of parenthesis, well frankly I'd say your best bet is to re-engineer the whole structure--it is just getting too g--d--ed complicated. Commented Jan 26, 2016 at 2:55
  • Depending on the complexity, I would use bullet points. Readability dramatically influences comprehension.
    – Flater
    Commented Oct 18, 2017 at 9:55


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