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I'm trying to write something along the lines of:

The system can do three things; thing1, thing2, and thing3, and can do each of these in a variety of ways.

Does this work as written, or is there a better structure/more correct punctuation I should be using? Specifically, it seems a little awkward to me to be using commas to separate both the list items and the two parts of the sentence.

Thanks!

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    What are the "thing1, thing2, thing3"? Single words? Complex phrases in their own right? If it's the latter, split the sentence up. If it's the former, throw away half of what you've got. The system can cook, dance, and sing in a variety of ways. Don't tell me these are three things, I can count to three, thanks very much. Don't tell me it "can do" things it "can do", I guessed as much. Remove fluff. Don't waste your time on wasting your readers' time. As to the commas, they are fine, but you can drop the Oxford one for additional clarity. – RegDwigнt Jul 27 '17 at 12:19
  • It was single words, so I think the process of 'removing fluff' was the right approach here. I was trying to be quite specific and numeric as the document is quite technical, but, in hindsight, I don't think that it was required. Thanks! – strexlor Jul 27 '17 at 12:47
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First:

The system can do three things, each in a variety of ways: [list here].

If the list items themselves contain commas or coordinating conjunctions like "and", use semicolons as your separators in the list:

The system can do three things, each in a variety of ways: increasing productivity and efficiency; communicating with various networks and devices; and [I ran out of ideas, lol].

The system can do three things, each in a variety of ways: increasing productivity and efficiency; promoting security, such as by ensuring connections are encrypted; and [item 3].

If the list items do not contain commas or coordinating conjunctions, you may use commas to separate each as usual:

The system can do three things, each in a variety of ways: A, B, and C.

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