Office Icon Grammar

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aza

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Hi,

Is this sentence, which is displayed when the mouse is over the Outlook icon in Windows, correct:

"Send and receive e-mail; manage your schedule, contacts, and tasks; and record your activities by using Microsoft Office Outlook."

Are not semi-colons used to separate clauses in a sentence? If so should the above sentence have used full stops, especially for the last clause? Is it ok to use "and" after a semi-colon?

I am very much a grammar amateur but have had my interest piqued by Lynne Truss' book, "Eats, Shoots & Leaves". Now every time I read a sentence, especially ones containing semi-colons or colons, I spend ages agonising over whether the semi-colon should have actually been a comma or a colon etc. Another thing, should a full stop be used after etc., e.g. "etc..", if it is at the end of a sentence?

Thanks,

Aaron
 

RonBee

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Re:
  • "Send and receive e-mail; manage your schedule, contacts, and tasks; and record your activities by using Microsoft Office Outlook."
The punctuation in that sentence is correct. The semicolons separate closely related independent clauses. Also, at least one of the clauses does itself contain commas. Those are two reasons why the semicolons are needed. You can use periods (full stops) there, but the semicolons are perfectly appropriate. If it is appropriate to use And at the beginning of a sentence then it is definitely appropriate there.

:)

If a sentence ends with an abbreviation that uses a period (full stop) then that is the end punctuation for the sentence. Do not use an additional period.

:)
 
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aza

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RonBee said:
Re:
The semicolons separate closely related independent clauses. Also, at least one of the clauses does itself contain commas. Those are two reasons why the semicolons are needed. You can use periods (full stops) there, but the semicolons are perfectly appropriate. If it is appropriate to use And at the beginning of a sentence then it is definitely appropriate there.

Thanks for that Ron. looks like Microsoft are paying someone well to do their interface messages.

I thought I might push my luck and ask another question which also troubles me (I apologise in advance if has already been answered ad infinitum and will accept any reprimands). Would a colon have been more appropriate in the original sentence since the clauses were closely related?

Re:
"Send and receive e-mail; manage your schedule, contacts, and tasks; and record your activities by using Microsoft Office Outlook."

Is a semi-colon more correctly employed when the clauses are extension or clarifying clauses and not when they are closely related? The sentence could almost be a list after all.

Thanks,

Aaron
 

RonBee

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Re:
  • Would a colon have been more appropriate in the original sentence since the clauses were closely related?
No, not really. The sentence is a combination of three independent clauses. Semicolons are appropriate punctuation in such a case.

Re:
  • Is a semi-colon more correctly employed when the clauses are extension or clarifying clauses and not when they are closely related? The sentence could almost be a list after all.
One might use a colon in such a case. However, in the case of independent clauses that are linked semicolons or commas are preferred.

(Say: "It looks like Microsoft is paying someone well...." )

:)
 
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