Where should commas go in a sentence like the following:

Consider the size quantity and most importantly price.

To address the elephant in the room, I side firmly with the oxford comma in most cases, so comma placement would look like this without the interjection:

Consider the size, quantity, and price.

I also understand that interjections and interrupters should be separated with commas:

Consider several qualities including, most importantly, price.

But when these rules combine, we end up with:

Consider the size, quantity, and, most importantly, price.

Having commas on both sides of the "and" breaks up the flow too much, making the sentence clunky to read. And it just doesn't feel right, intuitively. I usually end up eschewing one of the commas and breaking either the Oxford Comma or the Interjection rule, because it's better to break a rule than do something outright barbarous. But I'm never sure which way to go:

Consider the size, quantity, and most importantly, price.


Consider the size, quantity and, most importantly, price.

Is there a right way to do this? Or does this problem just indicate that I should probably rewrite with a different sentence structure altogether?

  • 1
    Eschew commas for dashes? "Consider the size, quantity(,) and—most importantly—price." (The Oxford comma doesn't make the sentence better, but it also doesn't really make it worse either.)
    – Laurel
    Commented Jan 18 at 20:02
  • 1
    As writers, we may not paint ourselves into a corner and cry clunky. I'd go with "Consider the size, the quantity, and the all-important price." Or, "Consider the size, quantity, and price. But especially price." Commented Jan 18 at 20:29
  • I think that repeating the "the" before "quantity" and "price" would make it sound much better regardless of comma placement.
    – alphabet
    Commented Jan 18 at 20:30
  • 1
    Does this answer your question? Usage of brackets/parentheses (etc) With comma overload (listing commas used along with parenthetical-offsetting commas, usually), as Laurel says, use different punctuation to offset the parenthetical. Commented Jan 19 at 0:10