# Thread: Punctuation dilemma- colons, semi-colons, commas or full-stops!

1. ## Punctuation dilemma- colons, semi-colons, commas or full-stops!

I am a teacher in charge of supervising some other teachers and in my role I need to edit their reports before they go home to parents.

I am currently debating which is the correct way to use colons, semi-colons, commas and full stops.

Teachers are currently writing their reports like this:

Billy is able to:

• count forward to 30.
• cound backwards from 30.
• count with 1:1 correspondance.
• make sets of numerals to 10.

However, I think there should be NO full stops at the end of each sentence, only at the final sentence, and the word 'and' needs to be included before the last item. Someone else suggested that there should be a semi-colon at the end of each sentence. That would look like this:

Billy is able to:

• count forward to 30;
• cound backwards from 30;
• count with 1:1 correspondance; and
• make sets of numerals to 10.

I have looked in my grammar books but have not found a definitive answer! Can anyone help?

2. ## Re: Punctuation dilemma- colons, semi-colons, commas or full-stops!

And there probably is no definitive answer. The logical argument would be for the same usage as is generally prescribed for such punctuation marks-- that is, commas between (since there are no internal commas) plus your final 'and' and a period.

That said, I myself would plump for simplicity and clarity: no punctuation marks whatsoever beyond the colon. It is a list, after all-- complete with bullets (and where do they fit into the punctuation scheme!?). What more does it need to make the meaning clear?-- it is simply a tabulated list of abilities. Now, if it were set into sentence format, then punctuation would be necessary to sort it out: 'count forward to 30, count backward from 30', etc.

3. ## Re: Punctuation dilemma- colons, semi-colons, commas or full-stops!

Thanks Mister Micawber!

I think I will go with your advice and keep it simple.

That is, no punctuation after the colon, except in the last line where I will add 'and' and a period at the end. (I can't help it, it just doesn't feel 'right' without those!)

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