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I was wondering how to list a small group of people, giving each of them a short description/introduction in a single sentence? (Or if that's bad practice, in multiple sentences?)

Example:

The A-Team consists of four members: John "Hannibal" Smith, their charismatic leader and master of disguise; Howling Mad Murdock, an insane pilot that can fly pretty much anything that has wings; B. A. Baracus, a mechanical genius and the team's muscle and Templeton "Face" Peck, the team's con man and scrounger, able to get his hands on just about anything they need.

(I've marked the and because I wasn't sure if it could be replaced by another ";")

I just picked the A-Team as an example since they already have a diverse group of people. What is a good technique (or norm) to summarize the names, roles and perhaps certain traits of 4-6 people? Especially while trying to avoid confusing comma placements or too many repetitions of and?

I'm also not sure if the usage of ";" is allowed in a case like this.

  • 1
    This is actually one of the primary intended uses for semicolons: separating items in a list which themselves contain commas. I would go so far as to advise that you put a semicolon before the and to make it clear that it's not part of the same list item. – John Clifford Mar 9 '16 at 12:36
  • @JohnClifford 's comment is a good one. You also could break out the list using bullets (simple dashes will do as leaders). – bib Mar 9 '16 at 13:06
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Either John's or bib's answer would work in this case, although I'd prefer a bullet list just for clarity. Also, you can combine the two:

The A-team consists of four members:

  • John "Hannibal" Smith, their charismatic leader and master of disguise;
  • Howling Mad Murdock, an insane pilot that can fly pretty much anything that has wings;
  • B. A. Baracus, a mechanical genius and the team's muscle;
  • Templeton "Face" Peck, the team's con man and scrounger, able to get his hands on just about anything they need.

In HTML, this would be a good use case for a definition list:

<dl>
  <dt>John "Hannibal" Smith</dt>
  <dd>Their charismatic leader and master of disguise.</dd>
  <dt>Howling Mad Murdock</dt>
  <dd>An insane pilot that can fly pretty much anything that has wings.</dd>
  <dt>B. A. Baracus</dt>
  <dd>A mechanical genius and the team's muscle.</dd>
  <dt>Templeton "Face" Peck</dt>
  <dd>The team's con man and scrounger, able to get his hands on just about anything they need.</dd>
</dl>
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    ^vote with a note: Nothing wrong with paraphrasing the comments you refer to, especially because they could disappear. If you show them as examples as well, this answer will be that much more complete. (Even more opinionated: cheers for showing markup code for the benefit of non-hackers.) – lauir Mar 10 '16 at 10:55
  • In my case the main reason for it is narration inside a story, so a bullet list won't quite work. But you helped me out by confirming that ";" are also a good way - maybe you could include this in your answer as well (if @JohnClifford doesn't mind that), with stating the source. – Katai Mar 17 '16 at 13:58
  • Hey, I didn't post my own answer, anything I said in comments is fair game. :) Have at it! – John Clifford Mar 17 '16 at 14:01

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