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TomLaney1 June 5th, 2014 1:12pm

PUNCTUATION PTHURSDAY: "For July 4, we'll need a picnic dinner red, white, and blue sparklers and a camera." Two punctuation marks are missing. Are they commas or another mark? Answer and defend in Comments. No arguments on 1 vs. 2 marks, please.

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TopsQueen Oregon Coast
06/05/14 6:41 am

Hey, that's RJ's and my birthday! You forgot birthday cake!

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Shazam Scaramouche, OH
06/05/14 10:27 pm

For July 4 we'll need: a picnic dinner, red, white, and blue sparklers, and a camera."

Depending on which style manual you use, the last comma could be dropped.

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chickencookie Merry Christmas
06/05/14 6:21 am

Picnic dinner; red, white and blue sparklers.

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Oboette17 Senioritis
06/05/14 6:24 am

Hey Tom, I had a question in another poll about a use of effect/affect, and you probably know the answer

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Cole12 ...
06/05/14 6:26 am

"For July 4, we'll need a picnic dinner; red, white, and blue sparklers; and a camera."

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TomLaney1 Jesus is Lord
06/07/14 10:31 am

It's hotter here off the caprock! At least you went with an Oxford comma. Most folks are totally unaware of the Oxford semicolon! Stay cool, buddy! :o)

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TomLaney1 Jesus is Lord
06/05/14 8:10 am

Yes! A sc is also a separator used to replace commas in a series where one or more of the items CONTAIN commas - the separating commas are promoted to semicolons to avoid confusion. This is a completely legit use of sc's that appears in all style

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TomLaney1 Jesus is Lord
06/07/14 10:34 am

It's a picnic lunch in the evening. Fried chicken is mandatory! Silver star for getting it right on the second try! :o)

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TomLaney1 Jesus is Lord
06/05/14 1:39 pm

OH! Rebuke rescinded; reward restored. Repentant rhetorician. :o)

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madeit Houston Area
06/05/14 7:32 am

I see the point. I was confused.

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TomLaney1 Jesus is Lord
06/05/14 1:42 pm

I'll see your semicolon after dinner and raise you one after sparklers! Gold star anyway! :o)

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sdbrev210 The Pursuit of Happiness
06/05/14 6:43 am

Actually I have two solutions: the first being add commas after dinner and sparklers; the second, add a colon after need and semi-colons after dinner and sparklers. Use of the colon implies a list to follow. Using commas to distinguish sparkler

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yellowflash1220
06/05/14 6:45 am

Not to argue about the presence of the second comma, as per tlaney's rule, but the last comma in a list is called the Oxford comma & can be present or absent as you wish

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pateach2 love my son
06/05/14 6:48 am

Picnics dinner; red, white, and blue sparklers; and a camera.

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pateach2 love my son
06/05/14 6:49 am

And wrote happy belated to terra. Mine is 4 days before that!!!

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TomLaney1 Jesus is Lord
06/05/14 6:49 am

Platinum star! First correct answer, even though it's without a defense.

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TomLaney1 Jesus is Lord
06/07/14 11:49 am

Gold star! ❤️

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TomLaney1 Jesus is Lord
06/05/14 7:46 am

The other use of semicolons is to replace commas in a series where one or more items CONTAIN commas. That's the case here with three items - dinner, sparklers, and camera - with commas within the second item. :o)

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TomLaney1 Jesus is Lord
06/05/14 6:55 am

You can see the reason for Oxford commas in "red, white, and blue sparklers." These are obviously three single-colored sparklers. But without the Oxford comma, I could have two kinds of sparklers: one that burns red and one that burns white AND blue.

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sdbrev210 The Pursuit of Happiness
06/05/14 9:21 am

Wait! You used a colon!!

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TomLaney1 Jesus is Lord
06/05/14 7:51 am

❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

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musiman28 Cotton country
06/05/14 6:18 pm

I say 2 commas. One after Dinner, one after sparklers I believe, but I'll have to read it again to be sure.

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Rosebud Ohio
06/05/14 7:12 am

They just make it look weird lol

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TomLaney1 Jesus is Lord
06/05/14 6:17 am

I'll publish my answer in about an hour to give y'all a chance to defend your own answers. Please tell me whether you'd like me to add this as a weekly feature! :o)

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TierasPet
06/05/14 6:17 am

Dinner, sparklers,. ?

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TierasPet
06/05/14 6:17 am

Yes please.

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Oboette17 Senioritis
06/05/14 6:24 am

It depends. Is the sentence trying to describe the picnic dinner, or is it listing things in addition to the picnic dinner, or is it including things in the picnic, in which one of them is dinner?

TomLaney1 Jesus is Lord
06/05/14 7:28 am

OK, the dinner includes a big ol' cake! I'll get a bigger basket!

pateach2 love my son
06/05/14 2:26 pm

Wait Tops what's going on?! What did I miss? I haven't been on SOH lately and the last on ig was you babysitting.

TopsQueen Oregon Coast
06/05/14 8:08 am

Thank you. I'm totally punctuation challenged. When my granddaughter was five she thought everyone celebrating my birthday was pretty awesome.

alynn Somewhere wonderful
06/05/14 6:29 am

You have me second guessing myself. A comma is needed after dinner. Some would say another comma is needed after sparklers, but I've heard from an editor that in a group of 3 you do not put a comma after the second in the list. Also, should be 4th!

Rosebud Ohio
06/05/14 6:31 am

You're not eating the sparklers and camera (I hope!) so no colon. It's not a list of food.
It's only one sentence, so no semicolons.
I'll go with commas, because of the type of list it is.

alynn Somewhere wonderful
06/05/14 8:11 am

Thanks for asking! I went over yesterday evening and he's doing much better...sitting and rising is painful, but he can walk around now. I think he'll be almost new by the end of next week, if I had to guess.

TomLaney1 Jesus is Lord
06/05/14 7:32 am

Gold star to you; Bronx cheer to autoconnect.

TomLaney1 Jesus is Lord
06/05/14 8:13 am

manuals and all good grammar textbooks. Baaaad teacher! Shaaaame! :-D

madeit Houston Area
06/05/14 7:33 am

What is wrong with me this morning? I meant semicolon.

TomLaney1 Jesus is Lord
06/05/14 6:43 am

Yes. Noun or verb? To affect someone is to have an effect on them. To effect something is to cause it to occur or change (note that "cause and effect" relationship!). An affect is an emotion reflected in facial expression and/or body language. :o)

TomLaney1 Jesus is Lord
06/05/14 1:47 pm

Yeah, gotta love semicolons. They step in and clear up the confusion of all those commas! And it was a camera, to shoot pictures of the fireworks show! :o)

sdbrev210 The Pursuit of Happiness
06/05/14 6:45 am

...colors requires the semicolon to separate separate item in a list.

There is, however, disagreement in my first option for the need of the second comma after sparklers and "and" when the last listed item follows "and." Both are acceptable.