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I have a list of two items. One of the items has the word 'and' in it. How do I punctuate this so it is clear that there are only two items in this list?

The items in bullet format:

  • Maths
  • Art and History

If we make a sentence to list these items, even explicitly saying there are two items, it is unclear which are the two items. For example:

This term I am teaching two modules and they are Maths and Art and History.

One might use common sense to say history belongs with art more than maths perhaps. But there are many cases, I'm sure, where it isn't so obvious.

  • This is ambiguous. You can sometimes clear it up by inserting a comma, but it's better to somehow rearrange the wording. – Hot Licks Jan 10 at 12:46
  • How can I make it clearer? I have two items in a list and one of them has the word 'and' in it. – keyserSoze Jan 10 at 12:47
  • "... modules: the first is math and the second is art and history." – Hot Licks Jan 10 at 12:49
  • It is impossible to re-arrange the wording because there are only two items in my list. Both permutations have the problem: there are two 'and's and only two items. – keyserSoze Jan 10 at 12:49
  • Yes, that sounds good - I can enumerate them! Genuis! – keyserSoze Jan 10 at 12:50
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There are several ways of rephrasing or punctuating the sentence to avoid ambiguity.

Some possibilities include:

This term I am teaching two modules and they are Maths and Art and History.
This term I am teaching two modules and they are 'Maths' and 'Art and History'.
This term I am teaching two modules and they are Maths and Art & History.
This term I am teaching two modules and they are (1) Maths and (2) Art and History.
This term I am teaching two modules. One is Maths and the other is Art and History.
This term I am teaching a Maths module and an Art and History module.

  • Yes, it is a bit more difficult when speaking, however. Perhaps the only way is by varying the pause "...two modules, Maths a-n-d Art 'n History". I can see your difficulty might be in inadvertently turning "Art and History" into "Art/History" so that people think you are teaching the history of art. It is a frequent problem with lists, and invariably calls for some ingenious improvisation. – WS2 Jan 10 at 18:40
  • I use commas for all list members. The 'and' is an identifier of the final item in the list. – Wayfaring Stranger Jan 11 at 2:18

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