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From what I've gathered, it's best to place a list at the end of a sentence. But I'm having a hard time fixing the following sentences without affecting the meaning.

The sentences in question:

But if you press X, Y, or Z on your keyboard, the cube will only move along the corresponding global axis. So if you press X, the cube will only move along the X axis and etc. If you press X, Y, or Z twice; however, the cube will only move along the corresponding local axis.

Any help will be greatly appreciated!

  • Which part, specifically, are you having a problem with? The only bit that seems a real issue is that the semicolon in the last sentence shouldn't be there. So, remove it. (You could replace it with a comma if you wish.) – Jason Bassford Aug 19 '18 at 3:14
  • I thought the beginning of the first sentence was incorrect. I read on a different site, that a list shouldn't be placed in the middle of a sentence. I'm still learning to write, making me paranoid of punctuation mistakes. – Computer Guy Aug 19 '18 at 3:42
  • There's no problem with a list anywhere in a sentence. (Apples, pears, and oranges are my three favourite fruits.) Perhaps you are thinking of a list that follows a colon? That's something that (normally) should only be at the end of a sentence. – Jason Bassford Aug 19 '18 at 3:45
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As clarified by comments in the question, this was actually asking how to modify the passage so that the list items come at the end of the sentences without changing their meaning.

This was based on a misunderstanding that list items should only come at the end of a sentence.


There is no need to change the location of these list items because they can actually come anywhere in a sentence, as with any number of constructions:

Apples, pears, and oranges are my three favourite fruits.

It's only in the case of colons introducing a list that they should normally come at the end of a sentence.

I have three favourite fruits: apples, pears, and oranges.

The problem with continuing a sentence beyond the last list item after using a colon is that the continuing sentence can be taken to be an extension of the last list item itself rather than the sentence as a whole.

  1. Apples, pears, and oranges are my three favourite fruits because they are so juicy.

  2. I have three favourite fruits: apples, pears, and oranges because they are so juicy.

While the second sentence is grammatical, the meaning has been lost. In the first sentence it's clear that all three fruits are my favourite because they are so juicy. In the second sentence however, because they are so juicy is applied only to oranges and not to the sentence as a whole.


There are some exceptional instances where the construction of a sentence will allow it to continue past a final list item after a colon:

I get up early in the morning; I have three favourite breakfast items: apples, pears, and oranges; and I also start my day with exercise.

Here, the use of semicolons makes it clear that there are three conjoined independent clauses. The second semicolon signals that the second independent clause has been terminated and that nothing that follows is part of its final list item.

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