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Seperation between multiple dates. Whats the correct grammar for this?For multiple...

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daniel981 | eNotes Newbie

Posted December 3, 2008 at 12:22 PM via web

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Seperation between multiple dates. Whats the correct grammar for this?

For multiple dates, does one separate them with a semicolon or a comma?

Example: 

Your scheduled car services are: January 2nd, 2009; March 3rd, 2009; June 2nd, 2009 and September 10th, 2009.

Or is it:

Your scheduled car services are:  January 2nd, 2009, March 3rd, 2009, June 2nd, 2009 and September 10th, 2009.

And if I'm wrong in both accounts, then I have no idea!

Thanks,

Daniel

6 Answers | Add Yours

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linda-allen | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted December 3, 2008 at 12:26 PM (Answer #3)

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Here's how I'd revise the sentence:

Your scheduled car services are January 2, March 3, June 2, and September 10, 2009.

All of the dates are in the same year, so you don't need to keep repeating it. Also, you don't really need the colon in this sentence. Colons are used to introduce lists when the introductory part is a complete sentence itself. For instance, if your sentence was

Your car is scheduled for services in 2009: January 2, March 3, June 2, and September 10.

you'd use the colon to separate the introductory part from the list. I hope that makes sense. See these sites for more help:

http://www.enotes.com/topics/how-use-punctuation

http://www.ehow.com/how_5954_colon.html

 

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engtchr5 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

Posted December 3, 2008 at 12:27 PM (Answer #2)

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Falling back on the ultimate resources of Strunk and White's Elements of Style and the Associated Press stylebook, you would be well-advised to use semicolons to avoid confusion.

Any time there is a sequence of comma-laden facts, like dates for instance, it is more aesthetically pleasing and easier to differentiate items using semicolons.

To do this in a technically correct fashion, one must remember the function of a semicolon in the first place -- to provide a necessary longer pause before stating something related to the immediately prior statement. For instance, "I like dogs; my favorite breed is the Cocker Spaniel." The two statements are related to each other, therefore the semicolon is appropriate. In the case of separating items in a series, since there are already commas present, the semicolon serves more as a visual divider than anything else. This is why journalists use it for that purpose predominantly.

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clamo88 | College Teacher | (Level 2) Adjunct Educator

Posted March 14, 2010 at 6:00 AM (Answer #4)

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Seperation between multiple dates. Whats the correct grammar for this?

For multiple dates, does one separate them with a semicolon or a comma?

Example: 

Your scheduled car services are: January 2nd, 2009; March 3rd, 2009; June 2nd, 2009 and September 10th, 2009.

Or is it:

Your scheduled car services are:  January 2nd, 2009, March 3rd, 2009, June 2nd, 2009 and September 10th, 2009.

And if I'm wrong in both accounts, then I have no idea!

Thanks,

Daniel

Since two people have already given you good responses to the question regarding semicolon use, let me just help you correct the misspelling of <separate>.  This word is often misspelled and one way to remember the correct spelling is to think of the phrase, "There is a rat in separate."

Mnemonics are very helpful in remembering the spelling of many words we use in American English.  These are short phrases, even poems, that help us create and retain an association between the phrase and the word.  A very common mnemonic is, "i before e except after c" for those words that have an "ie" combination.

I have created a number of menomics and given them to students over the years.  My favorite one: "Lose the extra "o" in loose."  So many people misspell lose (as in misplace or cannot find) by putting the 2nd "o" in it, which actually means "not tight."

I hope you find this helpful.

claire

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ask996 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

Posted April 22, 2010 at 12:00 PM (Answer #5)

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Oh, I love the strategy provided by Clamo88. I will never forget how to spell separate again. (See I just used it.) I would love if you could pass some of those mneumonics on to the rest of usJ

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Lori Steinbach | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted September 2, 2010 at 6:29 PM (Answer #6)

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Dessert is spelled with two esses (ss) because you always want more of it!!  (As opposed to a desert full of sand, of course.)

Just another few words about semi-colons.  Any time there is a list with complications, semi-colons must be used to separate them for clear understanding.  Think of a list of cities and states:

I want to visit Provo, Utah, Reno, Nevada, and Ames, Iowa. 

As written, this looks like a list of six things.  Instead, write:

I want to visit Provo, Utah; Reno, Nevada; and Ames, Iowa.

Remember that punctuation is rules, but the intent or the goal of punctuation is to promote clear understanding for all who read it.  If the rules have to be sacrificed to clarity, so be it. 

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thejester1962 | College Teacher | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted September 15, 2010 at 8:00 AM (Answer #7)

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Dear auntie Lori,

Re dessert/desert, you might want to add that in the idiomatic phrase "They got their just deserts" (often misspelled as "desserts") they want no more of it as it may be sufficient punishment in the sense of "good riddance". In other words, it's what they deserved... Cheers from Java, Frank

Q: I was watching an Indonesian movie set in the late 19th century, in which an Englishman said, "Hullo! Long time, no see..." Was this a common expression in those days? Somehow it sounds like a more recent coinage to me.

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