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

Robin Hamilton robin.hamilton3 at VIRGINMEDIA.COM
Sun Nov 6 14:16:30 EST 2016


But parentheses are QUOTE used to add information to items in a list UNQUOTE
(passim in various grammar sites dealing with this issue).

Thus we have our basic comma-separated list:

     Chicago, St. Louis, Orlando, and suburban Henry County.

With information added, we have:

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

The original cited list:

     Chicago; St. Louis; Orlando, Fla.; and suburban Henry County, Ga.

... uses semicolons to separate incommensurate items.  

When the parentheses are added according to the accepted conventions of the
style manuals, then the need for the semicolons disappears. 

I don't know about Wilson, but I think that was what was itching my brain in the
first place, not that I have any particularly rooted objection to the use of a
semicolon in such circumstances normally.

Itch scratched.

Robin

> 
>     On 06 November 2016 at 12:54 Dave Wilton <dave at WILTON.NET> wrote:
> 

> 
>     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
> 
> 
> 
> 
>     ------------------------------------------------------------
>     The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
> 

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