Re: Commas in a series

Subject: Re: Commas in a series
From: "David L. Bergart" <bodafu -at- CCVAX -dot- SINICA -dot- EDU -dot- TW>
Date: Tue, 17 May 1994 10:15:54 +0800

In article <sfouts -at- ellison -dot- ti -dot- com> writes:
>Date: Tues, 17 May 94 08:22:10

>Now. In technical documentation you might, on exceedingly rare occasions,
>come across things like, ``the wires, in order are, white, blue and green,
>and yellow.'' In a series such as this you may want it to be painfully clear
>that blue and green are a unit, that there are three, not four wires.

Daily, I handle sentences listing the components of a compound, some of which
are themselves compound. Further, it is often not possible to rearrange the
order of the list elements, as it may represent a temporal sequence.
The authors' use of commas in lists is inconsistent, however, and neither
the presence nor absence of a comma before the 'and' clearly indicates the
identity of, and relationship between, the list elements.

Commas and the consistent use thereof are *equally* necessary.


David L. Bergart bodafu -at- ccvax -dot- sinica -dot- edu -dot- tw bodafu -at- TWNAS886 -dot- bitnet
Copy editor Botanical Bulletin of Academia Sinica, Taiwan
"Trouble with grammar have I, yes!" - Yoda

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