General Writing and Grammar Help/series

Advertisement


Question
I have a question about the last sentence in the paragraph:

Dear Twis :

Welcome to Taiwan! Thank you for choosing our hotel for your stay while you are on tour here. We have made special arrangements for your short visit to Taipei, and hope that you all will have a good time here. First of all, we assure you that everything from meals, accommodations to entertainment such as shopping is well planned and organized as you wish.


(1.) In the last sentence, should I change “to” to “and”? Which pattern is correct?

“Everything from A, B to C is….” or “Everything from A, B and C is…”?

(2.) Or may I set off the list by using hyphens like this?

Everything - from meals, accommodations, and entertainment such as shopping - is well planned and organized as you wish.

Answer
Thanks, Peter, for your question.

I'm not sure why you included 4 sentences in your selection, since your question concerns only the fourth. This answer relates only to the fourth sentence.

The sentence is deficient in two glaring respects. Although I don't offer editing in AllExperts (and please don't ask for that service), I'll take the liberty on this occasion of pointing out these deficiencies.

a. "Everything from meals, accommodations to entertainment." Meals, accommodations should read meals and accommodations. A series of two nouns must be connected by and or or, with no comma in between.

b. "Entertainment such as shopping" is wrong, since shopping is not a sub-category of entertainment (at least to ordinary folks like you and me!). That issue could be resolved by a reference instead to everything from meals, accommodations, and shopping, to entertainment.

Regarding your enumerated concerns--

1. Neither of your alternatives is correct. See point a above.

2. Your suggestion of a hyphen surrounded by spaces is wrong. Strictly speaking, the writer should use an em dash surrounded by no spaces. If an em dash is not available, two connected hyphens may be used instead, providing there are no spaces surrounding the hyphens. (Don't be too concerned if you don't know what an em dash is: the connected hyphens or a generic dash is nearly always an acceptable alternative.)

If any of the above is not entirely clear (or if you just want elaboration), please submit a follow-up question.  

General Writing and Grammar Help

All Answers


Answers by Expert:


Ask Experts

Volunteer


Richard Johnson

Expertise

I can answer any question--usually the same day--on correct English grammar, usage, and (non-fiction) writing style, usually the same day, based on the American practice. All answers are explained, and I encourage follow-up.

Experience

I'm a retired editor and a lifelong student of this subject. My library includes a great many works to which I've referred through the years. I currently rely primarily on the sixteenth edition of The Chicago Manual of Style.

Publications
For over 30 years I edited the newsletter of my own organization, which had different names but was last known as NotBarter.com.

Education/Credentials
BA, Brooklyn College. Advanced studies in economics and political science.

Awards and Honors
For many years a member of Mensa.

©2016 About.com. All rights reserved.