Ugly but Correct

Margie Wakeman Wells The Comma, The Hyphen 2 Comments

Q     What is the VIN?

A     J, as in “John”; -H, as in “Harry”; -4-D, as in “David”; -B, as in “boy”; -7-6-6-2-T, as in “Tom”; I believe it’s an -S, as in “Sam”; -0-0-3-4-9-0.

Semicolons because of all the internal commas.

Happy punctuating!


Comments 2

  1. Really? I use the “as in John” and “as in Harry” portions out because they are just clarifying a letter that might otherwise be hard to understand. It’s not an exact comparison, but isn’t it similar to when they say 71Coh1 dash oh 8 oh 6 dash and what they mean is 71C01-0806. I write it how it is supposed to look on the document, not every single utterance that they employed to make themselves understood as they stated the number. No?

    1. You bring up what really is an editorial decision.

      To me, they are not the same because “as in ‘Mary'” are actual words and the “oh” and the “dash” are really symbols. But it is up to each individual reporter about what to leave out and what to include.

      Thanks for asking.

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