Q. Dear CMOS: In a business directory, each company’s page has a section for office locations. It just lists the place-names, not addresses. For example, the places where one company has offices are
My concern as a copyeditor is that the locations are a mix of states, cities, and business districts. Is it being persnickety to edit to
—Madison Avenue, New York City, New York
—San Diego, California
—Silicon Valley, California
—Wall Street, New York City, New York
My problem with the second list is that non-Americans wouldn’t know, and maybe wouldn’t care, what “level” of geography Illinois and Nevada are (the directory is to be marketed outside the country). I could list the states first and put the specific area in parentheses: California (Silicon Valley), but for an IT company, the important detail is Silicon Valley and not California. Thanks for your advice!
A. I agree with you that the list makes a copyeditor blink, but unless the main client base for this company is copyeditors, it’s probably best not to insult anyone’s intelligence with too much information. You might add “New York” to the street names, if you think anyone will be puzzled.