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Comma dilemma!

(18 Posts)
ttalloo Sat 21-May-11 15:03:40

In the sentence below (in italics), would you put a comma after Paramount Airways? It ceased operations in 2010, and I can't remember for the life of me if putting a comma after it will indicate that the clause that follows applies to Paramount Airways only, or all the airlines that precede it:

The new airlines that took market share from the Jet Airways and Air India groups were IndiGo, Go Air, Kingfisher, Spice Jet, and Paramount Airways, which ceased operations in early 2010.

Big ta!

ihearthuckabees Sat 21-May-11 15:08:32

Not sure, but here's a way round it: put which ceased operations bit in brackets. If you still think it's ambiguous, don't put the Paramount Airways at the end of the list, but somewhere in the middle.

Here:
The new airlines that took market share from the Jet Airways and Air India groups were IndiGo, Go Air, Paramount Airways (which ceased operations in early 2010), Kingfisher and Spice Jet.

There may well be a more elegant solution, but that's how I'd do it.

JackieNo Sat 21-May-11 15:11:59

I agree with what ihearthuckabees suggests.

ttalloo Sat 21-May-11 15:12:44

thanks ihearthuckabees - I was thinking of brackets, or putting Paramount Airways at the beginning of the list, but it feels like a cop-out, even if the readers of this article probably won't even notice!

breadandhoney Sat 21-May-11 15:12:55

You could use brackets, or possibly write it as:

The new airlines that took market share from the Jet Airways and Air India groups were Paramount Airways, which ceased operations in early 2010, Indigo, GoAir, Kingfisher and Spice Jet.

PacificDogwood Sat 21-May-11 15:13:44

No comma otherwise is applies to all airlines.

I think.

PacificDogwood Sat 21-May-11 15:20:37

it, Goddamnit, it!

<<hides in shame>>

ttalloo Sat 21-May-11 15:21:56

In the absence of certainty, I think I'll rearrange the sentence as you've all suggested, and put Paramount Airways at the beginning of the list. It's probably for the best, since it avoids any ambiguity, and means that readers (who'll probably be less clued up than I am) won't need to think very hard about what I'm trying to say.

But I'd still like to know if there should be a comma after Paramount Airways or not! PacificDogwood's suggestion of no comma rings a bell, but is it the right one?!

ttalloo Sat 21-May-11 15:25:26

Tis but a typo, PacificDogwood!

No shame in that - not like purporting to be a professional editor and not knowing what to do with a bloody comma!

beanlet Sat 21-May-11 15:31:37

Paramount Airways first COMMA which clause CoMMA all the others. Or leave it as you had it but "...Paramount Airways, the last of which".

beanlet Sat 21-May-11 15:32:39

And which always has a comma in front of it in such a circumstance.

nickelbabe Sat 21-May-11 15:58:00

I would put the brackets round.

or wink use semi-colons!
that's what they're there for.

the semi-colon is for the normal list, then a comma for "which ceased etc"

like this:
The new airlines that took market share from the Jet Airways and Air India groups were IndiGo; Go Air; Kingfisher; Spice Jet; and Paramount Airways, which ceased operations in early 2010.

breadandhoney Sun 22-May-11 10:05:06

ah the semi-colon. underused and marvellous smile

RumpelstiltskinsHat Sun 22-May-11 10:24:30

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

beanlet Thu 26-May-11 11:21:09

No, that use of the semi-colon is clunky (not wrong per se, but ugly).

You would only use semi-colons if your list read "IndiGo, a fine airline; Go Air, a slightly crappier one; Kingfisher, which is actually a beer manufacturer; Spice Jet, whose curries are to die for; and Paramount Airways, which ceased operations in 2010."

In a list of short nouns as in the OP, the items should be separated by commas.

nickelbabe Thu 26-May-11 11:26:20

it's not clunky, that's how it should be used!

it's more helpful than a comma, in an instance where you're putting extra info in. It shouldn't matter how many times you put extra info in.

beanlet Sat 28-May-11 20:02:34

It's one of the ways it CAN be used; its most common use, however, is how I've just used it.

And I've NEVER seen a list of single words separated by semi-colons in all my many years of reading and proofreading. The comma suffices for such a purpose.

chateauferret Sat 02-Jul-11 16:08:37

Depends if you want to keep Paramount Airways in consideration or not. If you go on to list say figures for all airlines, then you do; if you want to discard it because it ceased trading and just talk about the others, you can dispose of it in parentheses:

The new airlines that took market share from the Jet Airways and Air India groups were IndiGo, Go Air, Kingfisher, and Spice Jet (as well as Paramount Airways, which ceased operations in early 2010).

Otherwise: Since there are two levels of separation within the list(s), you definitely need a semi-colon or a full stop somewhere. There are two lists, the first is a subset of the second. I would use a semi-colon after "Spice Jet" only, just to delimit the two lists - and not within the first list. I think you also need "and" before Spice Jet, otherwise the first list isn't complete.

The new airlines that took market share from the Jet Airways and Air India groups were IndiGo, Go Air, Kingfisher, and Spice Jet; and Paramount Airways, which ceased operations in early 2010.

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