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    #1

    Punctuation marks in parentheses

    Last year we conducted an international survey on XXX (survey ID, ABC2013; participating countries, Japan, the United States, and Belgium; sample size, 12,570 students in total; survey period, April 2013 to November 2013).

    I know a semicolon is stronger than a comma, so I used semicolons to divide the items and I used commas after the item name and the contents of the item (in the parentheses). However, there are 3 participating countries and I used commas between the countries too, which I guess is not a correct usage of punctuations. In the above sentence, how should I use punctuation marks?

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    #2

    Re: Punctuation marks in parentheses

    You solution seems satisfactory to me.

  1. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: Punctuation marks in parentheses

    Try changing the commas to colons.

    (survey ID: ABC2013; participating countries: Japan, the USA, Belgium; sample size: 12,570 students; survey period: April–November 2013)
    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. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: Punctuation marks in parentheses

    I also prefer Barb's use of colons.

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    #5

    Re: Punctuation marks in parentheses

    Thank you everyone. Just to make sure one more thing.

    How about this?
    (survey ID; ABC2013: participating countries; Japan, the USA, Belgium: sample size; 12,570 students: survey period; April–November 2013)
    I found a dictionary that says the strongness order of punctuation marks are like this: period > colon > semicolon > comma.
    I thought the above might work too according to this rule, but I don't know.

  3. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: Punctuation marks in parentheses

    Absolutely not. A semi-colon separates items. You need something that connects things.
    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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