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July 24, 2009

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Duane Kelderman

Speaking of rules to be broken. . . As a preacher I'm predisposed to oral style and find that the use of "and" between the two last items in a series can distort the meaning of the statement. For example, "I was moved at her compassion, her sensitivity, her selflessness." Not using "and" has the effect of suggesting that these are three ways of describing the same reality, not three separate realities. Using "and" gets the listener/reader thinking about these as three discreet dispositions, not three ways of describing a single disposition.

At other times "and" between the last two items in a series of three or more weakens the impact of the series as a whole. "Our faith gives us courage, hope, peace, joy." In my experience, "and" would add very little here, and somehow muddies the impact of the four elements in the series.

Perhaps there are better explanations as to why I intuitively omit "and" in these situations. I'd love to hear them.

Thanks for this site. I'm brand new to it.

Duane Kelderman
Calvin Theological Seminary

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