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Consider the following sentence:

Many businesses in the service sector, such as banks and insurance companies(,) and even telecommunication companies, use software intensively.

In British English, is the comma before 'even' above forbidden, optional, or mandatory? Or is there a difference in the meaning depending on whether you use it or not? Please assume that we use the serial (Oxford) comma in the enclosing text. If there are some errors in a sentence, please improve them in any case. Explanations with references are welcome.

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    This is a list of three things. The first "and" should be replaced with a comma. The comma in question is an "Oxford Comma" whose usage has been discussed many times here (I say keep it). – Spencer Jul 5 '19 at 23:27
  • @JasonBassford From the viewpoint of the intended meaning, it is slightly (but not fully) parenthetical. Are you saying that there is a difference in the meaning? – MdAyq6 Jul 5 '19 at 23:27
  • @JasonBassford I was not speaking about grammar but rather about the meaning intended; I cannot change my intentions as a writer (I consider "telco companies" as somewhat additional information, but not completely parenthetic), so let's not go into it. But, essentially you said that the comma is optional, that the meaning changes, and that there is an error anyway. So, please feel free to go on and provide the two choices you have in mind. – MdAyq6 Jul 6 '19 at 2:35
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In answering this, I realized that the entire middle part of the sentence is, itself, parenthetical, regardless of the nature of and even telecommunication companies. Since it is, those comma pairs need to remain no matter what.

The essential sentence is simply:

Many businesses in the service sector use software intensively.


Either and even telecommunication companies is parenthetical to the two list items that precede it or it is a third list item.

Depending on the intended meaning, the punctuation will vary.


Parenthetical

Here is what the sentence would look like using actual parentheses, as well as what it would look like with the parenthetical information removed:

Many businesses in the service sector, such as banks and insurance companies (and even telecommunication companies) use software intensively.

→ Many businesses in the service sector, such as banks and insurance companies, use software intensively.

Given this interpretation, it would look like this with commas rather than parentheses:

  1. Many businesses in the service sector, such as banks and insurance companies, and even telecommunication companies, use software intensively.

A Third List Item

  1. Many businesses in the service sector, such as banks, insurance companies, and even telecommunication companies, use software intensively.
  • First, thanks, excellent explanation! Second, I cannot upvote yet (due to a low reputation), so, thanks again! – MdAyq6 Jul 6 '19 at 3:37

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