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Q. If you say “so-and-so is vice president, finance, of such and such,” should there be a comma after “finance”? My boss and I are in disagreement. I think there should be a comma but she says no. I can’t find a specific reference to this anywhere, though.
A. Anything that is set off from all or part of a sentence requires two commas, unless the word or phrase being set off is at the beginning or end of the sentence, in which case only one comma is required. Some examples:
January 4, 1844, was a day like any other.
The suburbs of Baltimore, Maryland, eventually overlap with those of Washington, DC.
The University of California, Berkeley, has a beautiful campus.
Your options are as follows, in order of preference:
So and so is vice president, finance, of such and such . . .
So and so is vice president–finance of such and such . . .
So and so is vice president (finance) of such and such . . .
I would not go so far as to write “vice president finance of such and such.”
Note the en dash in the second example (–); an en dash is midway in length between a hyphen (-) and an em dash (—) and can join a modifier (in this case “finance”) to an open compound (“vice president”).