Q. I’m editing a contract with many lists in it. After the recent court case involving the serial comma, I am trying to be even more diligent. I am sure at one point I read that if you have a list with items separated by the word or, you do not need a comma. I have looked through the entire comma, list, and conjunction sections of CMOS, but do not see any guidance. Which is correct? Here’s an example: I will eat pasta or pizza or salad. I will eat pasta, or pizza, or salad. Thank you in advance!
Q. I have run across this type of construction frequently in a fiction manuscript I’m editing. It feels somehow wrong, but I can’t find any reason why it should be. “Next to the door stood a single guard, an ugly aardvark that was staring at the ground and didn’t see them approach.” A colon instead of the comma would feel better, but is that an unnecessary change? (And colons look rather formal in fictional narratives.)
Q. I’m new at this and want to learn all I can. Should there be a comma after Perhaps in the following sentence? “Perhaps I would never have had the opportunity for an education.”
Q. I’m confused why there is a comma before “as well as” in CMOS 6.19: “The team fielded one Mazda, two Corvettes, and three Bugattis, as well as a battered Plymouth Belvedere.” If “as well as” was replaced with “and,” there would not be a comma. I can’t find anything else about this in the Manual. Can you please explain?
Q. We have a debate going on about the following sentence. Should there be a comma after the word states or not? Following your rule in chapter 6 about commas before independent clauses joined by conjunctions, I believe it would. Thoughts? “The company operates in DC and all states except AK, ME, NH, NY, and RI.”
Q. I believe this may have been addressed back in the 14th edition, but I cannot find a current rule to support my writing “Yes sir!” as an exclamation (or “Yes ma’am!”) in the manner of “Aye sir!” Would you please let me know what CMOS’s view is on this? I have been leaving out the comma and am now being challenged by publishers I’m editing for.
Q. For a poster, is the following correct, “Friday June 17th 8:00 pm,” or does there need to be a comma between Friday and June?
Q. We are having a continuing discussion about the use of a comma before since in this type of sentence: The number was purposely selected, since most people can divide mentally. My understanding is that if the subordinate clause follows the main clause, no comma precedes the conjunction; however, I saw the following sentence in the Q&A and am now confused. “Be aware, however, that the figures may depart from Chicago style in some details, since they are taken from actual manuscripts and published books or journals.”
Q. In the technical writing I do it is common to reduce the full name of a company, after first mention, to a shorter version, usually dropping the Inc. or LLC or what have you. For example: “Johnson Associates, Inc. (Johnson), is the proponent of this project.” Is it correct to have a comma after the parenthesis?
Q. Is there a rule governing the use of commas in a compound imperative sentence where the subject is implied? For example: “[You] Take the documents to the incinerator and follow safety guidelines during disposal” or “[You] Take the documents to the incinerator, and (you) follow safety guidelines during disposal.” Technically, these are both independent clauses. Is there any official rule that states whether the implied you exists only at the beginning of the first clause? Is this one of those situations that is never covered because it doesn’t matter?