Odd Language #170: Odd List

I was writing a sentence expressing my availability and came up with this oddity: “For this week, I will be out of town Tuesday and Wednesday and late Thursday afternoon and Friday.”

The issue: Items in a list can consist of multiple items. For example, “I know Bob and Marsha; Beth and Tom; and Freddie and Fred.” expresses that one knows three couples. In my sentence, I wanted to group Tuesday and Wednesday as one item and late Thursday afternoon and Friday as another.

If my list had had three items, I could have used the same form as the couples sentence, as in “For this week, I will be out of town Tuesday and Wednesday; late Thursday afternoon and Friday; and Sunday.” With two, I was stuck as “For this week, I will be out of town Tuesday and Wednesday; and late Thursday afternoon and Friday.” does not look right.

I finally added a few words: “For this week, I will be out of town for Tuesday and Wednesday and then late Thursday afternoon and Friday.” I would have preferred the bare list.