California State University, Fullerton

Editorial Style

Commas and Other Punctuation

Use commas to separate items in a simple series but not before the conjunction.

For example: The items on the dean’s agenda included sabbaticals, collective bargaining and parking.

A comma should be used before the conjunction, however, if there would be a possibility of confusion without it.

For example: Among those attending the conference were the deans of art, humanities and social sciences, and health and human development.

Use a comma to separate a name and academic degree.

For example: Charles J. Jones, Ph.D.

Do not use a comma to separate a name from Jr. or Sr. When used with quotation marks, commas and periods are always enclosed within the quotation marks.

For example: “This parking lot is crowded,” he said. “I should have stayed at home.”

Colons and semicolons are never enclosed within quotation marks unless they are part of the quotation.

For example: He had not read Professor Jones’ monograph, “Ozone Contamination”; in fact, he had never heard of it. He retitled his monograph, “Ozone Contamination: Earth’s Open Window.”

Colons and semicolons are followed by a single space in a typed manuscript.

The dash, question mark and exclamation mark are enclosed within quotation marks only when they apply to the quoted material.

For example: “Shall we all go together?” he asked. Did he say, “We should all go together”?