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If I list non-complete sentences, should I use semicolons? I'm solving an English question and I'm totally stuck. Below is the problem. Which one is right?

  • Colon introducing the list, with no further punctuation:

    Konia needed a project structure incorporating three features: (1) merging of the required areas of expertise to cover all relevant dimensions (2) the facilitation of interaction between the areas for rapid accumulation of specialized, process-specific know-how and (3) fast response time to ensure completion of objectives within six months.

  • Colon introducing the list, with semi-colons separating each item:

    Konia needed a project structure incorporating three features: (1) merging of the required areas of expertise to cover all relevant dimensions; (2) the facilitation of interaction between the areas for rapid accumulation of specialized, process-specific know-how; and (3) fast response time to ensure completion of objectives within six months.

  • Colon introducing a comma-separated list, with a semi-colon before the last item:

    Konia needed a project structure incorporating three features: (1) merging of the required areas of expertise to cover all relevant dimensions, (2) the facilitation of interaction between the areas for rapid accumulation of specialized, process-specific know-how; and (3) fast response time to ensure completion of objectives within six months.

  • Semi-colon introducing the list and separating each item:

    Konia needed a project structure incorporating three features; (1) merging of the required areas of expertise to cover all relevant dimensions; (2) the facilitation of interaction between the areas for rapid accumulation of specialized, process-specific know-how; and (3) fast response time to ensure completion of objectives within six months.

marked as duplicate by tchrist Apr 8 '17 at 16:30

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  • #1 uses '(number)' as separator, which works. #2 seems cleanest. #3 uses both a comma and a semicolon as list separators -- unclear why. #4 uses the semicolon to introduce the list -- unclear why. – Yosef Baskin Apr 5 '17 at 20:41
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I don't think there are any restrict rules about using semicolons in informal contexts. However, semicolons are not used before declaration of a list in academic literature. So, choice 4 is not correct.

It is very common to separate list items using semicolons. Therefore, second list is the best choice.

Note that before the last item, an and should be inserted (as it already is in all your cases).

  • Friendly advice: If you've flagged for closure as a duplicate, you don't need to provide an answer. Either the question is a duplicate (and the answer is elsewhere), or it's not. – Andrew Leach Apr 5 '17 at 9:32

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