Is the punctuation of this sentence correct?

The table given illustrates the expenditure on various products in five countries; namely, Ireland, Italy, Spain, Sweden and Turkey.

Is the usage of a semicolon before and a comma after 'namely' correct? Because until now and even after reading lots of tips about semicolons still I get confused whether to use them or not?

  • I'm not a writer, but I imagine this is a matter of style guides. I would use: "The table given illustrates the expenditure on various products in five countries, namely: Ireland, Italy, Spain, Sweden and Turkey." – user3169 Aug 29 '18 at 1:29
  • @user3169 -- Your comment could be the core of a good answer. – Jasper Aug 29 '18 at 17:36

Yes, the "; namely," in the example sentence is correct. The portion of the sentence starting with "namely" cannot stand as a complete sentence on its own. (". Namely," would be incorrect.)

I would replace the "; namely," with ": " (A colon followed by two spaces.) This ": " introduces a list. I think "namely," is redundant after such a colon.

The two parts of this sentence should be joined by either a semicolon, an emdash, or a colon. As discussed, a colon would be redundant with "namely". Thus, a semicolon is a reasonable choice.

The comma after "namely" is natural, but optional.

I use the "Oxford comma", so I would change "Sweden and" to "Sweden, and". Some style guides insist on the Oxford comma; other style guides refuse to allow the Oxford comma.

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