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    • Join Date: May 2006
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    #1

    Comma

    Do I need a comma right after the word California in the sentence below? Thanks for your help.

    - The company operates two offices in San Francisco, Califonia, and three offices in Hong Kong.

  1. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Comma

    I wouldn't put a comma there.


    • Join Date: May 2006
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    #3

    Re: Comma

    May I get a second opinion? Thanks very much.


    • Join Date: Mar 2006
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    #4

    Re: Comma

    Quote Originally Posted by cleung View Post
    May I get a second opinion? Thanks very much.
    I'm not trying to start another disagreement with Mike (honestly), but REALLY, I WOULD use a comma there.

    When I was about 10, I had a big disagreement with my English teacher at school over whether you should use a comma before 'and' in the final part of a list. He said you shouldn't, and I said you PAUSE there. I still think I was right even now, and I'm a stubborn so-and-so .

    So, I think you know my argument as to why I think a comma is necessary after 'California' .

  2. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: Comma

    Quote Originally Posted by Coffa View Post
    I'm not trying to start another disagreement with Mike (honestly), but REALLY, I WOULD use a comma there.

    When I was about 10, I had a big disagreement with my English teacher at school over whether you should use a comma before 'and' in the final part of a list. He said you shouldn't, and I said you PAUSE there. I still think I was right even now, and I'm a stubborn so-and-so .

    So, I think you know my argument as to why I think a comma is necessary after 'California' .
    That issue is about the Oxford comma, which involves a three or more part list. This is two items. I don't know anybody who suggests a comma in a two item list. BTW, I always use the Oxford comma.


    • Join Date: Mar 2006
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    #6

    Re: Comma

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeNewYork View Post
    That issue is about the Oxford comma, which involves a three or more part list. This is two items. I don't know anybody who suggests a comma in a two item list. BTW, I always use the Oxford comma.
    I wasn't suggesting that the comma was necessary because the sentence involved a list. I just used that example to illustrate that I think a comma should always appear at a pause break in a sentence. I believe there is a clear pause after 'California', so there should be a comma there - that's all.

  3. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: Comma

    Quote Originally Posted by Coffa View Post
    I wasn't suggesting that the comma was necessary because the sentence involved a list. I just used that example to illustrate that I think a comma should always appear at a pause break in a sentence. I believe there is a clear pause after 'California', so there should be a comma there - that's all.
    Ah! I see what you mean. There has been a tendency through the years (at least in the US) to decrease comma use where they aren't absolutely necessary. The "pause" rule works well most of the time, but it can also lead to separation, for example, of a subject from its verb. This is one reason that punctuation varies so much from individual to individual and style guide to style guide.

  4. rewboss's Avatar

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    #8

    Re: Comma

    The Oxford comma has been the subject of a lot of debate. Many people passionately defend it, many others passionately object to it.

    Logically, it should not be required most of the time. We do not, as has been mentioned, use it in a list of two items, so why use it in a list of more than two?

    However, the Oxford comma is most definitely appropriate where one of the items -- especially the last or penultimate -- contains the word "and". Consider this:

    Several firms were involved: Smith, Jones, Fosdyke and Goldberg and Clitheroe.

    How are we to interpret "Fosdyke and Goldberg and Clitheroe"? Here are two interpretations -- note how the comma changes things:

    Several firms were involved: Smith, Jones, Fosdyke, and Goldberg and Clitheroe.
    Several firms were involved: Smith, Jones, Fosdyke and Goldberg, and Clitheroe.

    If the last or the penultimate item contains the word "and", the Oxford comma is a must. Otherwise it is optional, regardless of how you personally would pronounce it.

  5. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #9

    Re: Comma

    Quote Originally Posted by rewboss View Post
    The Oxford comma has been the subject of a lot of debate. Many people passionately defend it, many others passionately object to it.

    Logically, it should not be required most of the time. We do not, as has been mentioned, use it in a list of two items, so why use it in a list of more than two?

    However, the Oxford comma is most definitely appropriate where one of the items -- especially the last or penultimate -- contains the word "and". Consider this:

    Several firms were involved: Smith, Jones, Fosdyke and Goldberg and Clitheroe.

    How are we to interpret "Fosdyke and Goldberg and Clitheroe"? Here are two interpretations -- note how the comma changes things:

    Several firms were involved: Smith, Jones, Fosdyke, and Goldberg and Clitheroe.
    Several firms were involved: Smith, Jones, Fosdyke and Goldberg, and Clitheroe.

    If the last or the penultimate item contains the word "and", the Oxford comma is a must. Otherwise it is optional, regardless of how you personally would pronounce it.
    I really don't understand the debate. The Oxford comma never causes confusion or ambiguity. Its absence sometimes does. For me, it's a no-brainer.


    • Join Date: May 2006
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    #10

    Re: Comma

    Thank you all for the good information and kind advice. But honestly, my intent of asking the question was simply trying to confirm or learn whether I need to put a comma after a city and/or a state, as shown in my sentence, and I wasn't really thinking about a list of two, three or four items, much less Oxford comma, which I had not even heard before.

    In any case, I appreciate the great help from all of you.

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