[Ads-l] The NYT: comma > semi-colon

Dave Wilton dave at WILTON.NET
Sun Nov 6 07:54:43 EST 2016


Parentheses don't always work well. If you're writing a piece that requires
parenthetical source citations, other uses of parentheses can be
distracting, if not downright confusing.

 

Using semicolons to separate list-items that contain commas is a standard
orthographic practice. You'll find it in just about every style manual in
existence (e.g., Oxford, Garner, Chicago, Cambridge, and MLA 7--before MLA 8
eliminated all its non-citation style requirements). I don't know about the
NYT style guide in particular, but I'd be surprised if it were any
different.

 

 

--Dave Wilton

   Department of English

   Texas A&M University

   dwilton at tamu.edu / dave at wilton.net

 

 

-----Original Message-----

From: American Dialect Society [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] On Behalf Of
Robin Hamilton

Sent: Sunday, November 06, 2016 1:39 AM

To: ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU

Subject: Re: [ADS-L] The NYT: comma > semi-colon

 

Further:

 

Wilson's original NYT cite: "... in Chicago; St. Louis; Orlando, Fla.; and
suburban Henry County, Ga."

 

I'd do as:

 

              "... in Chicago, St. Louis, Orlando (Fla.), and suburban Henry
County, Ga."

 

... where by the time we reach suburban Henry County, the context
disambiguates the final comma.  

 

"... Henry County (Ga.)." strikes me as a little picky, even though the
parens should possibly be there for the sake of consistency with "(Fla.)".

 

[Though as a poor benighted Brit, I may be getting my geographical
abbreviations in a twist.]

 

Robin Hamilton

 


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