Q. Do you recommend using a comma to separate items in a “from X to Y to Z” format? In more complex sentences, they may aid in comprehension, e.g., “He always bought the latest technology, from a cell phone that could tell his coffeemaker to start percolating at 7am[,] to a television that could remember all his preferences[,] to a tablet computer that synced all his bookmarks with his phone and laptop.” I’m working with an author who prefers to use commas in such cases.

A. If the items are short, you probably don’t need commas—unless leaving them out would result in hilarity: “He always bought the latest technology from a computer that synced his bookmarks to a coffeemaker that delivered mochas to a television that remembered his preferences.”

Remember that overuse of the device can annoy readers. Know too that persnickety readers dislike “false ranges,” although they are an accepted figure of speech. A “true range” is something like “from A to Z”; a false range is “from cells phones to coffeemakers,” where there are no logical endpoints to form a range. In your sentence, the range could easily be edited into a simple list.