What could be scarier than opening your fridge and not finding anything more edible than ice cubes at midnight?
It sure is…deciding whether to place a comma before legal abbreviations at the end of company names.
I know you would agree because this should be the main reason why you’re here, so welcome to our humble site!
If I may suggest, it would be best to read until the end of this post so that you won’t ever have to worry about this punctuation issue again.
Should we put a comma before “LLC?”
To know whether to place a comma before “LLC” in company names, the default process is to refer to the legally registered name of the company. If the official name contains a comma before LLC (sometimes also written in full as limited liability company), then a comma should also be placed across all documents where the company’s name can be found. Technically, no punctuation rule strictly governs the mentioned concern. However, when one is still at the point of deciding a business name under the limited liability company structure, the traditional convention is to punctuate it with a pre-comma before LLC. But at present, more and more people prefer omitting the comma, in favor of the open punctuation system.
Placing a comma before “LLC” — Guidelines
While deciding which among the four business structures one should choose already tests the strength of a new entrepreneur’s guts, settling for a business name could also be a pain in the neck.
Even though this seems like a no-brainer task on the surface, deciding on a business name may actually wear our brain cells out.
This is because of the many considerations to take when registering a legal business name, which is dependent on the state’s policies.
For example, the LLC business naming guidelines in New York suggest making the name as unique as possible, together with some precautions.
It must be unique in the sense that the name should not be easily confused with other existing corporations and LLCs.
The guidelines also restrict words including “mortgage,” “handicapped,” and “prekindergarten,” meanwhile prohibiting words like “attorney,” “state police,” and “tenant relocation.”
Some of the examples of LLCs are Apple & Apple LLC; Goldman Sachs Bank USA Holdings LLC; Jbs USA Holdings, LLC; and McDonald’s Usa, LLC.
If you were able to notice, the last two company names contain a comma before LLC but the first two don’t.
This is related to the content of the next subsection, which is the default reference to the pre-comma decision.
When the company’s registered name contains a comma before LLC
This guideline does not apply to those who are still in the process of creating or deciding company names.
However, the information here should help those people who are confused as to why a comma sometimes appears before “LLC” but sometimes not.
Data-entry workers, administrative staff, or anyone who may frequently need to encode company names may benefit from this guide instead.
We should bear in mind that the pre-comma is simply dependent on the legally recognized business name of the company that we are referring to.
A quick search online will confirm whether or not a comma comes before the official business name of a company.
We can usually see the legal name of a business either in the “about us” or “terms and conditions” section located at the bottom portion of the website.
In a nutshell, placing a pre-comma is necessarily done in all sentences and documents when the official company name contains one, especially with files.
Here’s an example sentence to illustrate the explanation above.
We may also have to write a company name in the business address part of a business letter, as well as on the envelope where the letter is placed.
The incorrect comma before “LLC”
If you have thoroughly read the last couple of sections, then understanding the next subsections should be a lot easier.
The details below contain some legal and grammatical considerations regarding the pre-comma placement.
When the legal company name does not contain a comma before “LLC”
It is essential to understand that a new LLC business owner has the freedom to decide whether to use a comma or not.
Adhering to the pre-comma placement means following the traditional and conventional way, whereas the omission inclines more to the more recent trend.
Therefore, if the official name of the business does not bear a punctuation mark before “LLC,” then no comma should also be seen among all other documents necessitating the business name.
Here’s an example to demonstrate the explanation.
In a business letter address part, this is how it would look like.
When using “LLC” as a noun
The abbreviation “LLC”, as you may have noticed, has been regularly used as a nominal word or a noun across this post.
This grammatical consideration can also prompt the non-placement of a comma before LLC, especially when it is used as a subject or object in a non-serial way.
This article will not discuss the other pre-comma-related decisions to using “LLC” as a noun because this rather aims to focus on the actual usage of the mentioned abbreviation.
For clarity reasons though, here’s how “LLC” may be used as a noun without a pre-comma.
On a side note, “LLC” may also stand for a song title that was popularized by Trinidadian-American rapper Nicki Minaj.
If you’re referring to this song rather than the actual legal abbreviation, then placing a pre-comma should not be an issue at all.
Comma before other legal abbreviations such as “Inc.,” “Ltd.,” “Corp.,” and “Co.”
Apart from “LLC,” there are other common business suffixes such as “Inc.,” “Ltd.,” “Corp.,” and “Co.”
“Inc.” stands for “incorporated,” “ltd.” means “limited,” “corp.” stands for “corporation,” and “co.” means “company.”
The same comma placement rule goes for all of these suffixes, which entails double-checking, at least, in the company’s official website or social media pages if the official company name contains a comma before “LLC” or not.
If it does, then you have to include that as well. If it doesn’t, a pre-comma won’t be necessary.
Based on all the information stated above, we can conclude that consistency is the key to determining punctuation usage.
Hence, if you’re a new employee who needs to write tons of business letters containing company names, it would be ideal to keep a record of all the companies that you may have to constantly deal with.
This should spare you from searching whether a comma comes before their company name suffixes.
Informational background on “LLC”
A limited liability company or “LLC” is a legal phrase pertaining to the most recent type of business structure in the United States.
It is one of the four main business structures wherein the other three are known as partnership, corporation, and sole proprietorship.
Sole proprietorship refers to the individual ownership of a business in which the owner is personally and legally liable for all of his or her debts and losses.
A partnership is a business structure that is composed of at least two owners who are legally and equally responsible for all business-related decisions, as well as the sharing of assets and liabilities.
And, the business structure that separates the legal responsibilities of a business entity and its shareholders is referred to as a corporation.
A corporation’s members or shareholders are also known as the board of directors.
Similar to a corporation, the business and the owners are not legally bound in a limited liability company.
Choosing the LLC as the organizational structure is good for new small business owners because of its ability to protect the owner’s personal assets.
This is the reason why this framework is becoming more and more popular these days.
Frequently Asked Questions on Comma Before “LLC”
Is there a comma before “Inc.?”
A comma should come before “inc.” when the legal name of the company being referred to contains one before “Inc.” The process of placing pre-commas to business name suffixes is more of a traditional practice, and therefore, the longer the company has been operating, the higher the chance a comma should be found.
Should there be periods in “LLC?”
In choosing a legal business name, the manner of placing periods or not is a preferential decision of the business owner rather than a rigid rule. The common practice at present is to omit the periods.
Is there a comma before “LLC” in AP style?
The Associated Press style guide suggests omitting the comma before any legal company name suffixes like “LLC,” “Inc.” or “Corp.” It further suggests mentioning the complete company name at least once in the article to increase searchability.
Writing can be excruciatingly rewarding in which the juxtaposition of pain and satisfaction is tantamount to growth.
“No pain, no gain,” so to speak. Apparently, the only way around issues similar to the one in this post is to keep swimming, I mean reading and writing.
Hey fellow Linguaholics! It’s me, Marcel. I am the proud owner of linguaholic.com. Languages have always been my passion and I have studied Linguistics, Computational Linguistics and Sinology at the University of Zurich. It is my utmost pleasure to share with all of you guys what I know about languages and linguistics in general.