An Ampersand & The Serial Comma

April 2, 2011 by edotgdot

 

The ampersand (&) is a ligature, which is a character consisting of two or more letters, that symbolizes the Latin conjunction “et” meaning “and.” This slick symbol is rarely used within paragraph writing, but is commonly used in titles, headlines, and business names. Not only is the ampersand an eye-catching logogram, but it is a fun word to say aloud (try it). The ampersand has recently reemerged thanks to text messaging, Facebook, and Twitter. Being a longtime fan of the ampersand, I wanted to incorporate it into our business title, but it was brought to my attention that the ampersand cannot be used with the serial comma (thanks Dad and master typographer).

 

For example, when searching for an editing and writing firm the LLC is called:

 

Write & Writer

 

But when you add three or more names, it would be:

 

Smart, Smarter & Smartest (no comma before the ampersand)

 

What if you need to separate Smart and Smartest? Then include:

 

Smart, Smarter, and Smartest (using the word “and”)

 

When determining the title of our business services, we wanted to distinguish between the “editing” and “design” services and so we developed the title:

 

e.g. PROFESSIONAL EDITING, WRITING, and DESIGN SERVICES

 

References: The Chicago Manual of Style, 16th edition; smithwriting.com; Wikipedia


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