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  1. #1
    stoney is offline Newbie
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    Default How do I punctuate this sentence?

    I have many hobbies, singing, watching movies, reading books are all my favorites.


    Can this be done in one sentence? I think I need to use colon/semicolons and throw an 'and' in there.

    Thanks

  2. #2
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    Default Re: How do I punctuate this sentence?

    I have many hobbies: singing, watching movies and reading books are my favorites.

    (I'd leave out the "all". It's not incorrect, but it looks strange.)

  3. #3
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    MikeNewYork is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: How do I punctuate this sentence?

    Quote Originally Posted by stoney View Post
    I have many hobbies, singing, watching movies, reading books are all my favorites.


    Can this be done in one sentence? I think I need to use colon/semicolons and throw an 'and' in there.

    Thanks
    I agree with boothling, but I would use a comma after the second item (the Oxford comma):

    singing, watching movies, and reading books

  4. #4
    Shad is offline Member
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    Default Re: How do I punctuate this sentence?

    I have learned that comma never precedes conjuntion AND. Why does Mike use that. Please clear the confusion
    Thanks

  5. #5
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    MikeNewYork is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: How do I punctuate this sentence?

    Quote Originally Posted by Shad View Post
    I have learned that comma never precedes conjuntion AND. Why does Mike use that. Please clear the confusion
    Thanks
    Many teachers have taught that through the years. It is not a rule and it never was. It is a preference held by some, but I am not one of them.

    The comma before "and" in a list of three or more items is called the Oxford comma. It is preferred by many because it never causes confusion. The omission of that comma, however, can lead to confusion in some instances.

    Example:

    The children were wearing colorful jerseys: red, purple, yellow and green and orange.

    In that senetence, what were the colors?

    If one uses the Oxford comma, one gets:

    The children were wearing colorful jerseys: red, purple, yellow and green, and orange.

    or

    The children were wearing colorful jerseys: red, purple, yellow, and green and orange.

    Do you see the difference?

  6. #6
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    Default Re: How do I punctuate this sentence?

    The Oxford comma is a source of hot debate. Some are bitterly opposed to it, others are passionately in favour of it. My personal preference is not to use it unless one of the items in the list contains the word "and" or "or"; in other cases, I find it jars.

    But your teacher is certainly not correct to state that a comma never comes before the word "and". As Mike has demonstrated, there are cases where it is absolutely necessary.

    Notice, in any case, the punctuation boothling supplied. Commas are used to separate items of a list, while a colon is used to introduce the list. You could also make a case for using a semicolon instead of a colon, as you have two clauses which are not joined by a conjunction; these are known as "contact clauses". Each clause could stand alone as a sentence -- in fact, you could also write them as two separate sentences:

    "I have many hobbies. Singing, watching movies and reading books are my favorites."

    When you join two clauses without a conjunction, you should never use a comma; this is a common mistake (you'll see it a lot), but it gives rise to what is called a "run-on sentence":

    I am bored. I don't like this movie.

    INCORRECT: I am bored, I don't like this movie.
    CORRECT: I am bored; I don't like this movie.

    Also, if you are writing a list and one of the items has a comma in it, you have to use semicolons instead of commas to separate the items:

    The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
    The Cook, the Thief, his Wife and her Lover
    Murder, She Wrote

    The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe; The Cook, the Thief, his Wife and her Lover; and Murder, She Wrote.

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