Example: Sacramento, CA, USA
I am certain about the comma after the city before the state but what about between the state and the country?

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    This is a question of style, and the answer may vary by context and by style manual. Are you formatting a postal address or are you referring to a location in prose? What style guide do you primarily follow?
    – choster
    Commented Mar 7, 2016 at 21:59
  • This has been approached if not answered before. The use of commas is to help us, not to cause us problems or give legalists more ammunition. And yes, rules are necessary to interpret the sort of help the poor overworked comma is giving. But which of these is easier on the eye and brain? .............................<< Sacramento, CA USA >> / << Sacramento, CA, USA >> And if you decide there is a definite answer, does that usage lead to confusion because it might be misinterpreted? Commented Mar 7, 2016 at 22:01
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    Certainly the commas would be important for readability if spelled out "Sacramento, California, United States of America".
    – MetaEd
    Commented Mar 7, 2016 at 22:10
  • This is for a sign
    – Pford
    Commented Mar 7, 2016 at 22:45
  • These commas are virtually identical in function to the separators in say 11 : 22 am or £3··7s··6d. Trying to justify them or otherwise is just querying useful conventions. Commented Mar 10, 2016 at 23:52

1 Answer 1


I think these commas are appropriate, as each hyper-location serves as an apposition. However, the postal service discourages punctuation, as it is just noise for their OCR machines.  

  • This is not apposition, as there is not a direct re-addressing of the referent. Contrast: The bathroom, the smallest room in the house, is on the first floor. = The bathroom, [which is] the smallest room in the house, is on the first floor. // Sally, [who is] their eldest daughter, is getting married next week. /// *Sacramento, which is CA, ... Here, you need to insert the preposition 'in', showing the non-equivalence of 'Sacramento' and 'CA'. /// As stated above, readability rather than rules-of-thumb should be the guiding factor here (though it would admittedly be best not to annoy the PO) Commented Mar 8, 2016 at 0:19
  • Excellent point; a hyper-location is not a hypernym. Assuming a preposition [at] is too much. The hyper-location is more like a surname. The comma serves more like a hyphen, since the location name may already be compound.
    – AmI
    Commented Mar 10, 2016 at 23:19

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