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Writing Details

Lists of Items Within a Sentence

Punctuation for Lists of Items Within a Sentence

Use commas after each item in a list of three or more items.


Nurses monitor a patient’s vital signs including temperature, blood pressure, respiratory rate, and pulse.

Use semi-colons after each item in a list if one or more items already includes a comma.


Included in the case conference were Dr. Andrew Smith, director; Dr. Harriet Clemens, cardiologist; and Charlotte Jackson, registered nurse.

Using Lowercase Letters to Separate Items Within a Sentence

To list items within a sentence, use lowercase letters in parentheses to identify each item. Use the correct punctuation— either commas or semi-colons— to separate the items in a list.


The study participants were divided into three groups: (a) elementary school students, (b) high school students, and (c) post-secondary students.