POSTED FRIDAY - REPOSTING AS IT WAS NOT PROPAGATED - APPEARS TO HAVE GOT LOST
Calling all sympathetic fellow-educators:
God is punishing for some sin that I am unaware that I committed ;-)

For my sins I had to teach adjectives to some EFL students today - including the order of adjectives.
While doing their self-study assigments a group of students came up with the following which they came trundling along to ask me about :-(

Although entirely hypothetical - and way beyond what they need to know - I have to come up with an answer.
They presented four phrases and asked me which one was correct:

(flag#1 = red/white/blue; flag#2 = green/yellow)
1. The two flags were red, white and blue and green and yellow.
2. The two flags were red, white and blue, and green and yellow.
3. The two flags were red, white, and blue and green and yellow.
4. The two flags were red, white, and blue, and green and yellow.

I opted for number 2, but said that number 4 was acceptable.

They then asked "Why?". I replied that I would prefer to explain this in the next class so that all the other students would have the chance to benefit from the discussion. :-P
Help! Was I right? Why?

Paulo the Sinner
with so many options in life why did I decide to become an EFL teacher?
a refuse management operator just don't 'av this 'assle. neiver duz a restroom manager.
 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 10
1. The two flags were red, white and blue and green and yellow. 2. The two flags were red, white ... green and yellow. I opted for number 2, but said that number 4 was acceptable. Help! Was I right? Why?

4 is unacceptable, I'd say.

Paul
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1. The two flags were red, white and blue and ... that number 4 was acceptable. Help! Was I right? Why?

4 is unacceptable, I'd say.

So just 2 would be acceptable?
Thank you.

Paulo
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They presented four phrases and asked me which one was correct: (flag#1 = red/white/blue; flag#2 = green/yellow) 1. The two ... that all the other students would have the chance to benefit from the discussion. :-P Help! Was I right? Why?

I'd say that the first flag was "red, white, and blue" and the second was "green and yellow", and as you don't put a comma between two things separated by an "and" the combination should be 3.

However, that's just my opinion and I am far from an expert.
} POSTED FRIDAY - REPOSTING AS IT WAS NOT PROPAGATED - APPEARS TO HAVE } GOT LOST
}
} Calling all sympathetic fellow-educators:
}
} God is punishing for some sin that I am unaware that I committed ;-) }
} For my sins I had to teach adjectives to some EFL students today - } including the order of adjectives.
}
} While doing their self-study assigments a group of students came up } with the following which they came trundling along to ask me about :-( }
} Although entirely hypothetical - and way beyond what they need to know } - I have to come up with an answer.
}
} They presented four phrases and asked me which one was correct: }
} (flag#1 = red/white/blue; flag#2 = green/yellow) }
} 1. The two flags were red, white and blue and green and yellow. } 2. The two flags were red, white and blue, and green and yellow. } 3. The two flags were red, white, and blue and green and yellow. } 4. The two flags were red, white, and blue, and green and yellow. }
} I opted for number 2, but said that number 4 was acceptable. }
} They then asked "Why?". I replied that I would prefer to explain this } in the next class so that all the other students would have the chance } to benefit from the discussion. :-P
}
} Help! Was I right? Why?
No. Number 3 is the correct answer of the choices given. Number 1 shows why it is that number 3 is right. Numbers 2 and 4 are wrong under everything but the Pause School of Commafication, where they would be wrong for those reasons. Better to recast:
One flag was red, white, and blue; the other was green and yellow.

Plus, the people who are absent should suffer the consequences. As it is now, they'll be rewarded for being absent.

R. J. Valentine
They presented four phrases and asked me which one was ... benefit from the discussion. :-P Help! Was I right? Why?

I'd say that the first flag was "red, white, and blue" and the second was "green and yellow", and as ... by an "and" the combination should be 3. However, that's just my opinion and I am far from an expert.

I agree with your opinion, but none of the four sentences should ever be used. There is too much room for misanalyzing them for instance, is the Harward comma being (or to be) used or not.

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Paulo V.:
They presented four phrases

Sentences.
and asked me which one was correct: (flag#1 = red/white/blue; flag#2 = green/yellow) 1. The two flags were red, white ... white, and blue and green and yellow. 4. The two flags were red, white, and blue, and green and yellow.

This is, I would say, entirely a question of style.

Commas in written English are sometimes required or prohibited for grammatical reasons, and in other cases are optional, but if present, represent a pause in speech. (More precisely, when I say "prohibited", I mean prohibited unless they are required for some other reason.)

The commas between items in a list, such as the one after "red", are of the grammatical kind, but there are competing grammars, one calling for a comma after "white" (called the "serial comma"), one prohibiting it. Some people write it one way; some use the other. There are also people who feel that both ways are correct and the choice should depend on the complexity of the components of the list. Each group finds the other two practices ugly, confusing, or both. (I always use the serial comma myself. The other two practices are ugly and confusing.)

The comma after "blue", if present, is of the "pause in speech" kind. I think everyone speaking that sentence would pause after "blue", but many people would consider that grammar prohibits a comma before the conjunction when only two items are being listed, just as it a comma between subject and predicate is usually considered as prohibited. So these people (and I'm one of them) would consider 2 and 4 wrong.

When you have a nested structure of lists, the commas in the outer level of listing get promoted to semicolons. "The flags were red, white, and blue; black, yellow, and red; and green, white, and orange." Some people who do prefer the comma after "blue" might think it clearer to promote it to a semicolon by analogy. So they might like one of these forms:
5. The two flags were red, white and blue; and green and yellow.
6. The two flags were red, white, and blue; and green and yellow.

I think 6 is actually the clearest of the lot, but it's still wrong by my grammar.
I would consider any of these sentences bad style in writing, although in speech the wording is easier to follow due to inflection. The only time I would be likely to write one of them is if I was representing someone's spoken words. A better style in writing would separate the two lists by some words: "One flag was red, white, and blue, and the other was green and yellow." Or "There was one red, white and blue flag and one green and yellow one." Something like that.
Mark Brader "The world little knows or cares the storm through Toronto which you have had to pass. It asks only if you (Email Removed) brought the ship safely to port." Joseph Conrad

My text in this article is in the public domain.
Plus, the people who are absent should suffer the consequences. As it is now, they'll be rewarded for being absent.

My apologies. Obviously I did not express myself clearly.

A group of students, who were doing their assignments together, came looking for me out of class.
Sorry if I didn't make that clear.
Also, I told them to wait for the next class so that I could ask you guys :-)
I told them that I needed to think about it, and was in a hurry.

Anyway thank you very much for your reply

Paulo
Paul Rooney (Email Removed) wrote on 08 Nov 2003:
1. The two flags were red, white and blue and ... that number 4 was acceptable. Help! Was I right? Why?

4 is unacceptable, I'd say.

Why would you say that? Your opinion is useless without a reason.
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