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How to Separate Dates in Technical Writing With a Comma or Semicolon


Technical writing conveys information. Readers rely on this information's accuracy and precision; mistakes in technical writing can cost businesses their money and even people their lives. Professional technical writers carefully proofread their sentences right down to the last period. Semicolons, a sometimes ignored punctuation mark, combine with commas to classify items in a long list of dates in technical writing.

Begin your sentence by describing or explaining the events or the significance of the dates you want to list. For example, "The company delivered four shipments."

Place a colon after the description of the event, as in, "The company delivered four shipments:".

List the dates in chronological order after the colon, beginning with any of the following relevant particulars: the time of day, the day of the week, the day of the month, the month and the year.

Insert semicolons between separate dates. "The company delivered four shipments: 5 p.m., March 15, 2009; 4:30 p.m., Aug. 7, 2009; 1 p.m., Nov. 29, 2009; and 8 a.m., Jan. 6, 2010."

Tip
  • Abbreviate Jan., Feb., Aug., Sept., Oct., Nov. and Dec. when used with a specific date.
About the Author

Nadine Smith has been writing since 2010. She teaches college writing and ESL courses and has several years experience tutoring all ages in English, ESL and literature. Nadine holds a Master of Arts in English language and literature from McMaster University in Ontario, Canada, where she led seminars as a teaching assistant.

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