Re: Items in a Series and Comma Use?

Subject: Re: Items in a Series and Comma Use?
From: Beth Agnew <beth -dot- agnew -at- senecac -dot- on -dot- ca>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Tue, 31 Jan 2006 12:22:17 -0500

To be specific, the question was about a train travelling from Paddington to Slough. Nothing about any other routes. If you want to talk about the entire line, then it would become too ponderous, and I'd want to find another way of expressing that information. I actually thought Hayes and Harlington should be joined with the ampersand rather than "and" for clarity, but I thought perhaps the person suggesting the stops had listed them correctly. If that's how it shows on the sign, then that's how it should be represented.

If the final stop was a station called Langley and Slough, then the sentence really should read "... West Drayton, Iver, and Langley and Slough". While correct, people don't like those two ands in close proximity. Once could write "and Langley & Slough" for differentiation, but then some techwriter would come along and wonder if there was a consistency problem. :-)

As John Posada pointed out, the clearest representation would be "... Southall, Hayes & Harlington, West Drayton, Iver, Langley, and Slough."

Guy K. Haas wrote:

Ahhh... but there *is* that "Hayes and Harlington," in the middle. THAT'S the 'compound' station in the list. Langley and Slough are separate stops. But does the train not continue beyond Slough to Burnham, Taplow, Maidenhead, Twyford, and Reading? :-)

[see where H&H are punctuated with the ampersand, not the word "and."]


Beth Agnew wrote:
If one catches the "Paddington to Slough" at the beginning of the sentence, then you know it's Langley, then Slough. But we don't want readers to have to decipher, remember, or guess, so I'd be more likely to write "Langley, and finally Slough". That way, even if the writer forgets the comma, the meaning is clear.

Guy K. Haas wrote:
My bet is that there is a station named "Langley and Slough."

--Guy K. Haas
Software Exegete in Silicon Valley

Stuart Burnfield wrote:
**> A train travelling from London Paddington to Slough calls at Action Main
> Line, Ealing Broadway, West Ealing, Hanwell, Southall, Hayes and Harlington,
> West Drayton, Iver, Langley and Slough. How many stops does it make?

Ten, counting the final stop at Slough.

I'm not sure what you're getting at with this example...


Beth Agnew
Professor, Technical Communication
Seneca College of Applied Arts & Technology
Toronto, ON 416.491.5050 x3133


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RE: Items in a Series and Comma Use?: From: Stuart Burnfield
Re: Items in a Series and Comma Use?: From: Guy K. Haas
Re: Items in a Series and Comma Use?: From: Beth Agnew
Re: Items in a Series and Comma Use?: From: Guy K. Haas

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