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    #1

    Question Punctuating a list of independent clauses

    How do you punctuate a sentence containing a list of independent clauses?. I've researched until my eyes are crossed about the proper punctuation for this situation, but so far I haven't found anything definitive. While it seems that with independent clauses, you would need a semicolon to separate the items, with each clause being a list item, does that mean it calls for commas instead? Semicolon usage dictates that items in a list containing punctuaton should be separated with semicolons to avoid confusing the reader, but all the examples shown were phrases, not independent clauses. I am including an example below to illustrate what I'm talking about. In the first sentence I used commas to separate the items; in the second sentence, I used semicolons. Which one is correct? Siutations like this come up in my business all the time, and I want to make sure I'm correctly punctuating these types of sentences.

    Each one of these centers are in different parts: They are in Logar, they are in Kapisa, they are in Kabul, they are in Herat, they are in Mazar, and they are in Bamyan.

    Each one of these centers are in different parts: They are in Logar; they are in Kapisa; they are in Kabul; they are in Herat; they are in Mazar, and they are in Bamyan.

  1. BobK's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Punctuating a list of independent clauses

    I don't understand some people's opposition to vertical lists. They're clear, uncluttered, easier to assimilate, quicker to read, and more efficient:

    Each of these centers is in a different place:
    • Logar
    • Kapisa
    • Kabul
    • Herat
    • Mazar
    • Bamyan


    (I expect I should run for cover now... Don't try it in an exam. )

    b

  2. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: Punctuating a list of independent clauses

    I do agree with the vertical list idea, but if you are intent on keeping this as running text, then realize that each of your independent clauses is simple, and therefore a simple comma can separate them. If they had any sort of internal complexity to them so that one or more required a comma within that clause, then use a semi-colon.

    PS: Welcome to the forums.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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