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    #1

    How would you punctuate the answer to the question?

    What would you be if you weren't a lawyer?

    I would be an illustrator, I love drawing. Or a coach, since I have a natural interest in people; what motivates them, makes them sad, mad or glad.

    NB: Punctuation as in the original; wording can't be change.

    Thanks
    Bertie


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    #2

    Re: How would you punctuate the answer to the question?

    What would you be if you weren't a lawyer?

    I would be an illustrator, I love drawing; Or a coach, since I have a natural interest in people— what motivates them, makes them sad, mad or glad.

  1. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: How would you punctuate the answer to the question?

    Is the em-dash on the table?
    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.

  2. Raymott's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: How would you punctuate the answer to the question?

    Quote Originally Posted by bertietheblue View Post
    What would you be if you weren't a lawyer?

    I would be an illustrator; I love drawing. Or a coach, since I have a natural interest in people: what motivates them, makes them sad, mad, or glad.
    Or a period where the semicolon is, and a dash where the colon is.

    NB: Punctuation as in the original; wording can't be change.

    Thanks
    Bertie
    R.

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    #5

    Re: How would you punctuate the answer to the question?

    Thanks Raymott

    I punctuated it almost the same in the end except that I used a spaced dash instead of a colon (mainly because it's conversational) and I didn't put a comma before the 'or'. I know in AmEng they use commas more often before 'and'/'or' in sequences than we in the UK do. Is that also true in AusEng?

    In GBEng the general tendency is to use commas before the final 'and' (especially in simple sequences) only if there would otherwise be ambiguity, so:

    "We are responsible for A, B, C1 and C2, and D."

    where without the comma this could be understood as:

    "We are responsible for A, B, C and D1 and D2."

    Bertie

  3. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: How would you punctuate the answer to the question?

    ... thank my parents, God and Elinor Roosevelt.

    Gosh, I loved that post!

    So mine would have been:

    I would be an illustrator — I love drawing. Or a coach, since I have a natural interest in people: what motivates them, makes them sad, mad or glad.
    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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    #7

    Re: How would you punctuate the answer to the question?

    Quote Originally Posted by Barb_D View Post
    ... thank my parents, God and Elinor Roosevelt.

    Gosh, I loved that post!

    So mine would have been:

    I would be an illustrator — I love drawing. Or a coach, since I have a natural interest in people: what motivates them, makes them sad, mad or glad.
    By which, are you suggesting that Americans don't use commas before the final 'and' in sequences? Note, I never said they always did, just as I would never say that the British never use a comma here. What I am saying is that Americans definitely use such commas more often than the British do.

    Here's what wikipedia has to say about this use of the comma - the 'serial comma', I've learnt:

    "Opinions vary among writers and editors on the usage or avoidance of the serial comma. In American English the serial comma is standard in most non-journalistic writing, which typically follows the Chicago Manual of Style. Journalists, however, usually follow the Associated Press Style Guide, which advises against it. It is less often used in British English."

    Note the last sentence. But it's not just something I've read; it's something I and my colleagues notice on a regular basis, because we often have to conform documents from our New York office to our firm's house style, which is based on GBEng - one of the most striking differences is the profusion of these redundant commas.

  4. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: How would you punctuate the answer to the question?

    Oops. I didn't notice that last one. The ending is kind of a hodgepodge of ideas anyway. But yes, I do use the serial comma. I was focused on the comma splice in the beginning and where I put the colon in the middle, and lost focus at the end.

    Not everyone uses the serial/Oxford comma. I do about 95% of the time, and that other 5% tends to be lapses in attention rather than a deliberate decision not to.
    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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