1

Which sentence uses commas correctly?

A. We have tickets to fly to Los Angeles, California on Friday, October 29.
B. We have tickets to fly to Los Angeles California, on Friday, October 29.
C. We have tickets to fly to Los Angeles California on Friday, October 29.
D. We have tickets to fly to Los Angeles, California, on Friday, October 29.

I think B and C are definitely wrong. But I have doubts between A and D. Although I preferred A, I found this sentence as an example in englishgrammar101.com:

What collection will be shown in Laguna Beach, California, at the Museum of Modern Art?

Then I got really confused. Any help would be appreciated.

3

Had the word California been omitted from the sentence, then I would recommend omitting the commas preceding the word on:

We have tickets to fly to Los Angeles on Friday, October 29.

It is customary to include a comma between the same of a city and its associated state or province, so the comma after Los Angeles is absolutely appropriate:

We have tickets to fly to Los Angeles, California.

The crux of your question, then, is should there be a comma after the state? At least one source says there should be:

If there is no street address — just a city and a state — put a comma between the city and the state. If the sentence continues after the state name, place a comma after the state.
(Emphasis added)

Another web site concurs:

If a location is listed at the beginning or middle of a sentence, a comma must also follow the state or country. She also lived in Paris, France, for a few years.

Therefore, I think sentence D is correct in your question:

We have tickets to fly to Los Angeles, California, on Friday, October 29.

2

Commas are almost always used to separate multiple components of an address or partial address. By "components", I mean, for example:

  • building name and/or number
  • street/road name
  • area/district
  • town/city
  • county/state/etc.
  • country

In the absence of a comma, it may be difficult for someone who is not familiar with the name or location to know which parts of the address belong together and which parts are distinct. For example, in the absence of commas, someone not familiar with the location may think that:

  • Los is the name of an airport, in …
  • a district called Angeles, in …
  • a town called California.

(OK, that's not a very good example, but I hope it illustrates the point.)

One occasion when commas might be omitted in an address is when each component is written on a separate line, e.g. as is usually done on an envelope. Additionally, post codes (zip codes) may not be preceded and/or followed by commas.

For that reason, a comma is essential between "Los Angeles" & "California".

In my view, the remaining commas are optional, but:

  • A comma is helpful to the reader between "California" and "on" because it indicates a break in the type of information being given, i.e. from address to date.
  • Personally, I would omit the comma after "Friday", but then (as a Brit) I would also write the date & month in the opposite order, i.e. "Friday 29 October". In British practice, it used to be common to include a comma after the day of the week, but now it is at least as common to omit it: in our format, the digits make an obvious visual break between the day of the week and the month. Maybe a comma is still more common in US practice?
  • @NathanTuggy Have done! My original response should probably have been a comment. :-( – TrevorD Dec 30 '16 at 14:14
  • Much better. I'd note, though, that it's customary in many places not to separate postal codes from the rest of the address with commas, but that's the only exception I'm aware of. (Of course, addresses are stuffed to the gills with exceptional cases.) – Nathan Tuggy Dec 30 '16 at 21:18
  • @NathanTuggy Thanks. Revised to mention post codes. – TrevorD Dec 31 '16 at 1:01
  • @NathanTuggy I was very interested in your link to 'exceptional' addresses. I have just this evening had difficulty completing the address fields in an HP on-line form: (1) The 'property number' field was mandatory - but my house doesn't have a number! I tried entering "0", but it didn't like that, so I had to wrongly enter "1" (on reflection, I should have put "9999"!). (2) My house is identified by name, but there was no field for a house name! There was a field for 'number suffix', where I could enter a partial house name, but it was only 10 char. long. - my house name needs 12 char.! – TrevorD Dec 31 '16 at 1:09

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