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I saw a practice SAT question on Khan Academy:

Certified Executive Chef Hilary DeMane has prepared confections for celebrities, governors, and even Ronald Reagan.

The correct answer is filled in and in boldface. While I find this correct answer most natural, I wonder when it is permissible to add a comma between the adverb and the noun of the last member of the series. I understand that the following is incorrect:

... governors, and even, Ronald Reagan.

But this, with a comma between the adverb "importantly" and "interest rates", seems natural to me:

Factors that affect bond prices include inflation, credit ratings, and most importantly, interest rates.

Or is the above not correct either? Should there be a comma before between "and" and "most importantly" as well in order to make it grammatical?

Factors that affect bond prices include inflation, credit ratings, and, most importantly, interest rates.

Thanks!

  • See also: Oxford comma. – Kris Aug 20 '18 at 9:04
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What you're talking about is adding parenthetical nonessential information as denoted by a pair of commas.

It's also something that's quite acceptable.

However, you do need to make sure that there are two commas used.

... governors, and even, Ronald Reagan.

In this example, the usage is wrong because there is no initial comma. It should be rephrased:

 . . . governors, and, even, Ronald Reagan.

Here, even is nonessential and could be removed from the sentence without affecting it:

 . . . governors, and Ronald Reagan.

So, even needs to have a comma both before it and after it. (Or be used without any commas at all.)

Using only a single comma for this purpose is ungrammatical.


Your last example does this well and is quite correct:

Factors that affect bond prices include inflation, credit ratings, and, most importantly, interest rates.

All you need to do is ask yourself if you could remove the word or words between the two commas (along with those two commas) and have the sentence remain grammatical.

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The first is a case of an Oxford comma used for emphasizing the end clause. It's not one of a parenthetical as in the other.

HTH.

  • That I understand. What I don't know is if I can add just one comma between the adverb and the noun, as shown in the second and third case (I know that the fourth case whose two commas form a parenthesis is correct). Thanks! – Ztysjdjdksksmdm Aug 20 '18 at 9:33

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