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an editor has revised a sentence of my article. I would like to figure out the reason for the changes. Please see the sentence below.

Original Version This operation has been a fundamental cause of the exacerbated wage disparity, excessive investment in property, abnormally high leverage rate and asset bubble.

Revised Version This operation has been a fundamental cause of the exacerbated wage disparity, excessive investment in property, and abnormally high leverage rates and asset bubbles.

(Changes he made) (1) He added a 's' for the countable nouns 'rate' and 'bubble' (2) and then added the conjunction 'and' before them.

Is this because he would like to separate these two plural countable nouns from the preceding abstract nouns, 'disparity' and 'investment', which are in uncountable form? Is this necessary, and is it grammatical to put 'and' before the second last noun rather than before the last one? Please kindly advise. Thanks!

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I don't think that those changes are correct. You cannot have a list with 2, or more, conjunctions: ".... A, B, and C and D."

to start with:
"This operation has been a fundamental cause of the exacerbated wage disparity, excessive property investment, abnormally high leverage, and an asset bubble."

  1. unless there are only two levels of wages (like $80,000 and $120,000), you must say "wage disparities".
  2. simplify "abnormally high" to "inordinate". In this context, there is no practical difference.

For the list to sound most natural, all the items should be made plural. I don't think this changes the meaning at all.

"This operation has been a fundamental cause of exacerbated wage disparities, excessive property investments, inordinate leveraging, and asset bubbles."

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  • Thanks user312440! Well noted. As an aside, I noticed that an 'an' needs to be put before 'asset bubble' when we make it singular. Still, may I ask when we are listing out types, is it okay to omit the article for singular countable nouns? And is it odd to make some of the items singular but some plural? Example sentence: The fair will encompass various types of events, including exhibition, guided tours and screening. (There is only type of exhibition and one type of screening; but two different types of guide tours (e.g., building tour and studio tour) Thx!
    – Jane
    Jan 5, 2020 at 8:50
  • A singular countable noun, "asset bubble", still needs its indefinite article, "an asset bubble." In English, a list sounds best when it has symmetry and has 3 items. So, as long as the meaning does not change, make everything plural (or singular).
    – user312440
    Jan 5, 2020 at 9:05
  • When you make your list, ask yourself, "how important is the precision?" Do you need to communicate there are exactly 1 screening, 1 exhibition, and 2 guided tours? If so, you should probably create a new sentence and not create confusion in a list. So think "what do I want to communicate?" If this precision is not important, say "The fair will encompass events including guided tours, exhibitions, and screenings." I bet this is all that your patrons need to know and will not create "confusion". The English is short, easy to understand, easy to remember.
    – user312440
    Jan 5, 2020 at 9:10
  • Thanks user312440!
    – Jane
    Jan 5, 2020 at 9:32

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