Suzanne wrote with a mailing list dilemma. Some people in her company want to strip punctuation from all the mailing addresses. For example, they want to render “Lutron Co., Inc.” as “Lutron Co Inc”. Suzanne is resisting this change because it doesn’t look right to her, yet she has no reference book to back up her view. She commented:
“I’m (just) the IT person, meaning that I write the software that changes every one of the 10,000 records very quickly. I realize that taking punctuation out is easy; putting it back is nearly impossible. I am resisting making a change that someone will regret later. Can you offer some assistance or point me in a direction?”
Suzanne, I’m glad to help. Here are some ideas:
If your mailing list uses no punctuation and abbreviates company names (as you mentioned in your full comment), the inside address will also use no punctuation and abbreviate names. That will look wrong. It will create a “one size fits all and fits none” look on your company’s business letters.
If you take out punctuation, you will be rendering many company names incorrectly, companies that have spent significant time deciding whether they want to include things like commas and periods in their names.
All mailings from your company will look like mass mailings. Why? Because individual letters virtually always include standard punctuation.
The U.S. Postal Service does not require punctuation stripped out. It acknowledges that addresses with punctuation are readable by its scanners.
You also asked about a list of abbreviations. Here are some I verified in The Gregg Reference Manual:
Company = Co.
Corporation = Corp.
Incorporated = Inc.
Limited = Ltd.
Manufacturing = Mfg.
Manufacturers = Mfrs.
For others, you may wish to consult Gregg or a current dictionary. But keep in mind that you do not need to abbreviate as long as each line of the address is no more than 40 characters.
Suzanne, I admire you for taking on this important fight to preserve a mailing list amassed over 30 years. Good luck!