Q. Chicago, APA, and other style guides for US English require a comma before the conjunction in a series of three or more items, per Strunk and White. However, in recent years I have increasingly seen US publications not follow this rule. (I find myself more and more often rechecking to see if these periodicals and books are British!) Has your staff also noticed this tendency? If so, do you have a professional opinion on the subject?

Q. Is it proper to put a comma after the year in a date? Example: On April 15, 2014, I filed my taxes on time.

Q. An editor just changed all of my nervous character’s “Oh, dear” comments to “Oh dear” without the comma. Which is correct?

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.

Q. Is it necessary to have commas before and after an appositive when referring to coaches? Example: We went to see Bengals coach Paul Brown to interview one of his players.

Q. What punctuation is required for “including but not limited to”? I see many different opinions from many different sources.

Q. In my role as an editor, I frequently face preposition-conjunction combinations such as this: “The analysis assesses the availability of and access to community services.” Does this need commas?

Q. Hello there. Is it okay to use a comma after Anderson? “This is disgusting,” said Anderson, “The man I hired to mow the lawn has missed a few spots.” According to the models you provide, you seem to prefer a period rather than a comma, but is the comma definitely wrong?

Q. Is it a grave error that I wrote “If I’d had time, alone, with my mother’s body, I might have caressed her face” in lieu of “If I’d had time alone with my mother’s body”? I understand that I felt a pause around the word alone and therefore decided to use the commas. I also realize that the pause doesn’t mean that a comma is necessary. Using the commas around alone seemed to underscore the gravity of the situation, the aloneness of the situation. Will an editor be inclined to throw away my manuscript because of a small error like this?

Q. I have been debating with my copyeditor guidelines concerning commas and dates. We consulted CMOS on the topic but we still differ in opinion. I prefer “In the summer of 1812 General Hagerthy moved his troops” versus “In the summer of 1812, General Hagerthy moved his troops.” “Early in 1946 an opportunity came for my cousin” versus “Early in 1946, an opportunity came for my cousin.” I argue that a comma after the year is not needed. Gurus of style, please opine who is correct.