Hot answers tagged

18

As others have said, it's a matter of stylistic choice. The semicolon style is very formal. Personally, if I was using the semicolon style, I'd go all the way and put an italicised "and" after the penultimate item and a period after the last item, like this: The items on today's agenda are: item 1; item 2; and item 3. The idea behind ...


15

English documents written in India often use :-. For example: Tatkal tickets shall be issued only on production of one of the ten prescribed proofs of identity shown under (as mentioned in Commercial Circular No.68 of 2012 issued vide letter No.2011/TG-I/20/P/ID dated 01.11.2012) as per procedure explained below:- The details of medical camps conducted by ...


14

Former means “the first of two” and latter means “the second of two.” Notice that you should use these terms when speaking of only two previously mentioned items. If the options include three or more, former and latter do not apply. Relevant question.


13

Yes, you're right that the correlative conjunction either ... or ... is simply a summation of successive or's -- either ... or ... or ... or ..., with only the last or obligatory. Same thing without either, except that then it's not clear that this is disjunction with or, instead of conjunction with and (which is more common, and unmarked). But if you start ...


12

You are correct that it's appropriate to visually distinguish when you're mentioning a word as a word instead of using it for its meaning. This is called the use-mention distinction. Quotation marks or italics are appropriate for making the distinction. If you're using a style guide, look for “use-mention distinction” or “words as words” to see what it ...


11

These days it's a matter of style. In my news room, if the list comprises items that are sentence fragments, each item requires a semicolon except the last one, which is terminated with a full stop. If the items are full sentences, each is treated as such - leading capital and trailing full stop. This is a little old-style, and some style guides do away ...


9

Apply Equation 1, use Lemma 2, and exploit Theorem 3, to prove the finiteness of the result. In this case the whole list seems to "prove the finiteness of the result". Apply Equation 1, use Lemma 2, and exploit Theorem 3 to prove the finiteness of the result. In this case I'd say that it is ambiguous, but can you expect your reader to understand how ...


8

The enacting formula of UK Acts of Parliaments (e.g. here's a recent example) ends with a colon followed by what appears to be an em-dash. Looking around this page, colon + hyphen appears to be common to a number of Commonwealth and British territories, though there are exceptions to that rule (e.g. Phillipines). Usage in legislation would seem to indicate ...


7

This is usually called diet, or if you want to be more wordy dietary preferences.


7

Write what sounds natural. I like changing the verbs and joining with commas: There were many cases of animal suicide in the paper: a duck drowning itself after the death of its companion, a school of dolphins beaching itself for no apparent reason, a deer throwing itself from a cliff to avoid being eaten by hunting dogs. The list went on and on.


7

From Merriam Webster’s page on enumerate: 1:  to ascertain the number of: Count 2:  to specify one after another: List Also from Merriam Webster’s page on enumerate Despite its numer- root, you don't have to use numbers when enumerating. Based on the information provided by the dictionary’s page on the word, I can only conclude that ...


7

Yes. You are applying two distinct comma guidelines consistently: The commas around a nonessential element. (Purdue OWL has some examples.) Commas (including the serial comma) separating items in a list of three or more elements. (Number 5 in this list.) There is no standard guideline for what to do if the application of multiple rules leads to a ...


6

I agree with Mr. Shiny and New 安宇, but I would add the caveat that even though his reading of the version with comma is formally correct, it does not escape the Fundamental Law that "Anything which can be misunderstood will be". I would suggest moving the final clause to make your meaning unambiguous. If all three operations are required for the proof, ...


6

The statement as you gave it might occur in speech, but forms joined in this manner are not preferred in writing. Instead, separate the items with a comma, and put or only before the last item: You may use X, Y, Z, or even something else. This is effectively the same as the rule for lists of items joined by and. (Oxford comma forever!)


6

I can't see there's any strict grammatical "rule" in play here, but here's my "general principle"... If you see the list of examples as a single collective set, use "and". If you see it as several discrete elements, of which only one applies at any given time, use "or". Arguably, if OP's intention in "I love ...


5

This is a simple list of 3 elements, not a complex list of 2 elements whose second element contains two subelements. Case 1 deep red with black with dark green or dark purple medium shades of red with similar tones of green and orange; etc. Case 2 deep red with black with dark green or dark purple medium shades of red with similar ...


5

That should be: I need to get three things from the supermarket: eggs, milk, and coffee.


5

Rephrase the introduction to the list so you don't need a conjunction. The user can choose from one of the following options:


5

If rephrasing gets awkward, you can bullet a complete sentence showing this item here with an ending semi-colon; this item, which ends in the same semi-colon followed by an "or"; or this item, which completes the sentence with a period. These are guidelines, not steadfast rules that everyone agrees upon.


5

While there is no rule for ordering general lists, we can probably consider specific cases: (A) cases where an ordering may be mandatory (eg listing Royalty or Government Officials or by some sort of seniority) (B) cases where an ordering may be natural (eg ordering temporally or by some measurement like size or age) (C) cases where phrases may have a ...


5

Between each set of commas is one buying option. There is no need for the extra "or" because the reader understands there are 4 options without it: Cadillac Mercedes Hyundai All three Therefore, your first sentence is correct! As for your first question, I cannot think of a word to replace "all three." "All three" definitely makes sense and is an ...


5

The New Oxford American Dictionary... above (adverb) includes Mentioned earlier or further up on the same page. So "All of the above" may be used in horizontal senses as well as vertical.


5

It is acceptable to use semi-colons in a list. However, the semi-colon is a stronger separator than a comma, so your example is effectively making a list which separates the items like this (which doesn't make sense): gene1 kidney disease, gene2 cardiac arrhythmia, gene3 arterial stiffness, gene4 aortic aneurysm It would be better to swap the commas and ...


4

Since you're including "hard" things like allergies, as well as "soft" things like likes and dislikes, I'd go with the "hard" and use the term requirements. What are Johnny's food requirements?


4

I'm a mathematician, and I'd just like to confirm that, although some of us have a reputation for mangling the English language, I've never encountered the "either ... and ..." mangling before. I'm inclined to assume it's just a typo.


4

Use the second sentence. I also insist on the so-called Oxford comma (after "club"), but some people feel otherwise. Why not the first sentence? The first example uses the rhetorical device anaphora, and so is, strictly speaking, more formal. But the mundaneness of the sentence undercuts the effect of the device, so the repetition becomes, I think, ...


4

Advice on this topic varies. As noted in a commnet webpage with a section about “Numbered, Vertical ("Display"), and Bulleted Lists”, with emphasis added, Writing and reference manuals offer different advice for creating lists. It seems that as long as you're consistent within your document, you can devise just about any means you want for ...


Only top voted, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible