Punctuation

Commas and Semi-Colons in Writing a List of Names and Jobs

as such

In the previous newsletter I showed a picture of a meeting or conference with a bunch of people seated on a stage.

The caption of the picture reads like this:

From left: U.S. Corps of Engineers Assistant Secretary for Civil Works Joan Darcy, Disabled Sports USA, Wounded Warrior Program representative Kirk Bauer, Tribal Chairwoman from the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe in Washington State Frances Charles, The Orvis Company Vice Chairman of Retail and Sporting Traditions Dave Perkins, and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar participated in the, “Restoring Rivers: Building Resilience for People and Wildlife” panel during the White House Conservation conference, “Growing America’s Outdoor Heritage and Economy” at the Interior Department, Yates Auditorium in Washington, D.C., on Friday, March 2, 2012. The conference was part of President Barrack Obama’s, “America’s Great Outdoors Initiative” to spotlight community-driven conservation efforts and discussed how to build their success. USDA photo by Bob Nichols.

Now I have a question for you: How can you know what the names are of these people?

Answer:

The name is mentioned after the job.

Have a look at the first person: U.S. Corps of Engineers Assistant Secretary for Civil Works Joan Darcy.

Her name is: Joan Darcy.

Her job is: U.S. Corps of Engineers Assistant Secretary for Civil Works.

The second person is: Disabled Sports USA, Wounded Warrior Program representative Kirk Bauer.

His name is: Kirk Bauer.

His job is: Representative of the Disabled Sports USA, Wounded Warrior Program.

And the third person is: Tribal Chairwoman from the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe in Washington State Frances Charles.

The woman’s name is: Frances Charles (she is the one sitting in the middle).

Her job is Tribal Chairwoman.

Is she Tribal Chairwoman of all the tribes? No, she represents the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe in Washington State.

Etc.

I’m sure you’re now able to find the remaining two people’s names and jobs.

In listing people’s names and jobs you can use two strategies: 

1 Like in the example: Name of job followed by the name. Don’t use a comma (,) between the job and the name.

2 Put the name first, followed by the job. In this case you do need a comma.

If we take the first person first, the format would be like this:

Joan Darcy, U.S. Corps of Engineers Assistant Secretary for Civil Works.

If we use this second format and then make a list of people, the different people would be separated by a semi-colon (;) and not a comma.

So the list above would run like this:

From left: Joan Darcy, U.S. Corps of Engineers Assistant Secretary for Civil Works; Kirk Bauer, Disabled Sports USA, Wounded Warrior Program representative; Frances Charles, Tribal Chairwoman from the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe in Washington State; Dave Perkins, The Orvis Company Vice Chairman of Retail and Sporting Traditions, and Ken Salazar, Interior Secretary, participated in the […].

Before and you don’t need to put a semi-colon, but a comma is possible (American style uses a comma before and).

In other words, the two strategies use different punctuation.

One thought on “Commas and Semi-Colons in Writing a List of Names and Jobs

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