What is the best way to punctuate this sentence.

See example:

They should be able to interpret and evaluate content presented in diverse formats, use technology, including the Internet to produce and publish and to interact and collaborate with others, conduct short sustained research, and demonstrate understanding of the subject under investigation.
asked Feb 03 '13 at 23:26 Rachel Butiko New member

1 answer


The sentence gets a bit lost because you have a list of several things that should be able to do, and one of them (use technology) has a long explanation of what that means.  When items on a list are lengthy, they should be separated by a semi-colon instead of a comma.  Then, the minor information about any one item in particular can use commas. 


That said, the explanation of “use technology” goes off on a bit of a tangent to describe what they will be doing with that skill.  You need a little more consistency in how each item is presented.  None of the other items include that type of information.  It may be easier to first write a bulleted list, then determine if you can make that all into one sentence, or if it needs to be spelled out into more sentences.  It might also help you to see if there is redundancy or items missing.


They should be able to:
Interpret and evaluate content presented in diverse formats 
Use technology
Produce something
Publish something
Interact and collaborate with others
Conduct short sustained research
Demonstrate an understanding of the subject under investigation.


It is quite a long list.  If the person can use technology (which is very broad), does that cover the “in diverse formats” part?  “Produce and publish” doesn’t tell us anything, really.  Sustained means that something continues or is prolonged for an extended period.  “Short sustained” doesn’t make sense to me.  If this is for a job description, it is very vague.  I would be more specific about what “they” should be able to do.  Also, if it is a job description for one person, “they” is not the appropriate word choice.  Go with something like the employee, the applicant, or use the title of the job. 

link comment answered Feb 04 '13 at 00:23 Patty T Grammarly Fellow

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