Style - use lists

Malc Prentice

What are list rules?

Getting lists wrong is a common problem

1) Be careful about commas, spaces, and "and"

OK: 1, 2, and 3.

OK: 1, 2, 3, and 4.

NO: 1, 2, 3, 4.

NO: 1, 2 and 3 and 4.

Oxford comma

MAYBE: 1, 2, 3 and 4.

Outside of APA and MLA this last one is sometimes allowed.

However, it's dangerous, as it can make some strange meanings.

Google "Oxford comma" to see why, and why it is usually avoided.

2) Follow the keyword rules

Read this: use keywords

3) Introduce lists properly

This is a list. Introduce it properly.

Avoid these common problems:

<~~>... three reasons, A, B, and C.

... three reasons A, B, and C.

There are three reasons for X, A, B, and C.

There are three reasons for X. A, B, and C.

There are three reasons for X A, B, and C.

CAREFULLY follow one of these patterns

1) Hyphen

There are three main cities - A, B, and C.
There are three reasons why X - A, B, and C.
Three serious problems - A, B, and C.

2) Colon

... three cities: A, B, and C.
There are three reasons why X: A, B, and C.
three problems: A, B, and C.

3) Full sentence

No colon or hyphen (more difficult to get right, but better style)

This essay describes A, B, and C

This essay argues that X, due to A, B, and C.

This paragraph describes X in terms of A, B, and C.

This paragraph outlines the three reasons why X, which are A, B, and C.

The three reasons for X are A, B, and C.

X are experiencing problems mainly due to A, B, and C.

This essay shows that cats make bad pets because of A, B, and C.

This essay shows that cats make bad pets in terms of A, B, and C.

There are many kinds of cats, including A, B, and C.

I want a cat, specifically either A, B, or C

4) In the middle of a sentence

Read this: use a parenthetical statement

Two warnings if you use keywords this way:

Hyphen style is safest: