TechWhirl (TECHWR-L) is a resource for technical writing and technical communications professionals of all experience levels and in all industries to share their experiences and acquire information.
For two decades, technical communicators have turned to TechWhirl to ask and answer questions about the always-changing world of technical communications, such as tools, skills, career paths, methodologies, and emerging industries. The TechWhirl Archives and magazine, created for, by and about technical writers, offer a wealth of knowledge to everyone with an interest in any aspect of technical communications.
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