General Writing and Grammar Help/list grammar

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Question
QUESTION: Are you aware of any violations or variances of building codes, restrictive covenants, other land use restrictions or zoning ordinances applicable to the property?

Any thoughts on this sentence?
It has been suggested that a colon is required after the word "of" in the sentence preceding the list?
Any improvement to the sentence that helps?

ANSWER: No comma after "of" however, you have missed a proper comma:

"Are you aware of any violations or variances of building codes, restrictive covenants, other land use restrictions( comma here) or zoning ordinances applicable to the property?"

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thanks!

What about the suggestion of using a colon?

Are you aware of any violations or variances of:  building codes, restrictive covenants, other land use restrictions, zoning ordinances applicable to the property?

If the colon is required, can you paste the grammar rule applicable?

Thanks!

ANSWER: No colon when asking a question. It is used to continue a thought..... unless number listing the questions.

Read this:

http://www.dailywritingtips.com/proper-use-of-the-colon/

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: This is very helpful.

One additional followup question is that a semicolon should be used.

You thoughtfully answered the question that use of the colon is incorrect.  

Any thoughts about the semicolon in the same place?

Are you aware of any violations or variances of;  building codes, restrictive covenants, other land use restrictions, zoning ordinances applicable to the property?

Answer
Avoid using a semicolon when a comma is needed.

Proper use of colons and semi-colons:

http://writing.wisc.edu/Handbook/Semicolons.html states:

"Semicolons help you connect closely related ideas when a style mark stronger than a comma is needed. By using semicolons effectively, you can make your writing sound more sophisticated.

Connect closely related ideas
Link two independent clauses to connect closely related ideas

Some people write with a word processor; others write with a pen or pencil.

Link clauses connected by conjunctive adverbs or transitional phrases to connect closely related ideas

But however they choose to write, people are allowed to make their own decisions; as a result, many people swear by their writing methods.

Link lists where the items contain commas to avoid confusion between list items

There are basically two ways to write: with a pen or pencil, which is inexpensive and easily accessible; or by computer and printer, which is more expensive but quick and neat.

Link lengthy clauses or clauses with commas to avoid confusion between clauses

Some people write with a word processor, typewriter, or a computer; but others, for different reasons, choose to write with a pen or pencil.

Rules for Using Semicolons
A semicolon is most commonly used to link (in a single sentence) two independent clauses that are closely related in thought.

When a semicolon is used to join two or more ideas (parts) in a sentence, those ideas are then given equal position or rank.

Some people write with a word processor; others write with a pen or pencil.

Use a semicolon between two independent clauses that are connected by conjunctive adverbs or transitional phrases.

But however they choose to write, people are allowed to make their own decisions; as a result, many people swear by their writing methods.

Use a semicolon between items in a list or series if any of the items contain commas.

There are basically two ways to write: with a pen or pencil, which is inexpensive and easily accessible; or by computer and printer, which is more expensive but quick and neat.

Use a semicolon between independent clauses joined by a coordinating conjunction if the clauses are already punctuated with commas or if the clauses are lengthy.

Some people write with a word processor, typewriter, or a computer; but others, for different reasons, choose to write with a pen or pencil.

Avoid using a comma when a semicolon is needed:
Incorrect: The cow is brown, it is also old.
Correct: The cow is brown; it is also old.

What's going on here? Both parts of the sentence are independent clauses, and commas should not be used to connect independent clauses if there is no coordinating conjunction. This mistake is known as a comma splice.


Incorrect: I like cows, however, I hate the way they smell.
Correct: I like cows; however, I hate the way they smell.

What's going on here? The conjunctive adverb however signals a connection between two independent clauses, and commas should not be used to connect independent clauses if there is no coordinating conjunction.


Incorrect: I like cows: they give us milk, which tastes good, they give us beef, which also tastes good, and they give us leather, which is used for shoes and coats.
Correct: I like cows: they give us milk, which tastes good; they give us beef, which also tastes good; and they give us leather, which is used for shoes and coats.

What's going on here? It's unclear what the three list items are, since the items are separated by commas.


Incorrect: Cows, though their bovine majesty has been on the wane in recent millenia, are still one of the great species of this planet, domesticated, yet proud, they ruminate silently as we humans pass tumultuously by.
Correct: Cows, though their bovine majesty has been on the wane in recent millenia, are still one of the great species of this planet; domesticated, yet proud, they ruminate silently as we humans pass tumultuously by.

What's going on here? It's unclear where the first independent clause ends and the second independent clause begins.

Avoid using a semicolon when a comma is needed:
Incorrect: The cow is brown; but not old.
Correct: The cow is brown, but not old.

What's going on here? The coordinating conjunction but doesn't require a semicolon, since the second part of the sentence isn't an independent clause.

Incorrect: Because cows smell; they offend me.
Correct: Because cows smell, they offend me.

What's going on here? The first part is not an independent clause, so no semicolon is required."




http://grammar.about.com/od/punctuationandmechanics/a/semicolondash.htm

"Semicolons (;)

Use a semicolon to separate two main clauses not joined by a coordinating conjunction:

Those who write clearly have readers; those who write obscurely have commentators.
We can also use a semicolon to separate main clauses joined by a conjunctive adverb (such as however, consequently, otherwise, moreover, nevertheless):
A great many people may think that they are thinking; however, most are merely rearranging their prejudices.
Basically, a semicolon (whether followed by a conjunctive adverb or not) serves to coordinate two main clauses. For a more detailed discussion of this mark, see How to Use the Semicolon.
Colons (:)

Use a colon to set off a summary or a series after a complete main clause:

It is time for the baby's birthday party: a white cake, strawberry-marshmellow ice cream, and a bottle of champagne saved from another party.
(Joan Didion)
Notice that a main clause does not have to follow the colon; however, a complete main clause generally should precede it."  

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