City, State, ZIP Code - comma?


Senior Member

when writing an American address do you separate
City, State and ZIP Code by a comma or not.
I saw it done both ways, which one is correct?

Thank you.
  • From the US Postal Service website:

    Delivery Address
    The delivery address is the most important information on your mailpiece. Use the following format for your delivery addresses:

    Name or attention line: JANE L MILLER
    Delivery address: 1960 W CHELSEA AVE STE 2006
    City, state, ZIP Code: ALLENTOWN PA 18104

    One reason for all-caps and no punctuation is that addresses are read by a machine.
    Okay, I hate to argue with the USPS, but no one actually uses all caps. NO one. Maybe computer-generated mailing lists, but no one else. Also, the site Copyright linked to has no commas anywhere in the address. The most common way to address mail is as so:

    Jane L. Miller
    Miller Associates
    1960 W. Chelsea Ave. Ste. 2006
    Allentown, PA 18104

    Not all address have the "plus four" zip code, but if there is one it's generally separated by a hyphen as so:

    Allentown, PA 18104-1271

    There is no comma between the state and the postal code.

    Also, it is still permissible to spell out the name of the state (Allentown, Pennsylvania 18104). The post office does prefer the two-letter codes, but spelling out the state is better than guessing and using the wrong abbreviation.
    Okay, I hate to argue with the USPS, but no one actually uses all caps. NO one.

    I certainly do and so does my bank and a host of others.

    The best reason I know of for using capital letters is that the automatic scanning devices used by the U.S. Postal Service work best with upper-case letters.
    If you send first-class mail, USPS recommendations (post 2) are just that: recommendations. You can address the item any way you want. They are legally required to do everything within their power to deliver it. If your address can't be read by machines, so the item has to be handled by people, it may arrive a day later than it would otherwise - but that's all.

    If you take advantage of lower rates such as bulk mail, their rules are absolute. They can refuse to deliver your mail or charge you first-class postage for it. Since people who use these rates tend to also use computers to address their mail, this is not a problem in practice.

    I suspect that most people who ask this question on WRF send first-class mail. In that case, my experience is that the format of post 3 is most common.
    Jinglin Pvt. Ltd., Janakpuri District Center, Janakpuri, New Delhi, 110044

    Appearing as one line at the top of a company document/letterhead, does that require the highlighted (red) comma or a period instead, or anything else, before the zip code in AE?

    Thanks a lot.
    In AE there is no comma before the zip code.
    There is no need for a period either.
    As an aside, I find it strange that the company name and address are written on only one line.
    I would expect the letterhead to be in the following format (perhaps with the company name in all caps):
    Jinglin Pvt. Ltd.
    Janakpuri District Center
    Janakpuri, New Delhi 110044
    Thanks a lot, LH. Yes, you're right that a letterhead bears the company name in a bigger, usually bold or colored, font as one line at the top. The doc I quoted from is not a letterhead actually.

    Thank you.