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Just to make sure, are you disagreeing or agreeing with the author that the use or lack of commas around "John" gives us information about the amount of friends the speaker has?

I personally do not see how having commas around "John" says that he is the only friend of the speaker. Both of the following sentences simply state that the speaker has a friend named John, but I am still not clear on how the commas (or lack thereof) tells us about the quantity of the speakers friends. I'd argue that neither of the provided examples do that. Same with the "sister Betty" examples: I, as a reader, still would not know how many sisters the speaker has regardless of the comma placement. Such information would only be clear to a reader that knows the speaker well.

It seems that the commas around Betty (or John) have a dual function and are not a good indicator for the amount of sisters (or friends) of the speaker:

It could(!) mean that the speaker has more than one sister and is being specific as to which one is being referred to, but not necessarily the case as the the speaker could also just be providing the name (additional information) to an audience unfamiliar with the speaker's sister's name.

I hope we are on the same page (no pun intended), but I am not sure.

I do agree that the commas around a name provide specific (clarifying) and/or non-essential information (as in the case of naming a parent).


Does my argument make sense? What are your thoughts? :)

At any rate, the section in the article about John the painter made no sense, so I am trying to see what your stance is.

Thank you!

6 months ago

I would agree, and it looks syntactically better.

Thank you for the reply!

1 year ago

I have a question about the second case in this article:

"Case 2

Look at the below sentence –

· My friend John, who is a better painter than me, can do the walls for your home.

Here the comma is not essential because the clause beginning with who, does not identify John. Note that even without the clause ‘who is a better painter than me’, the sentence is grammatically correct and conveys the message."

Would the commas around the clause that starts with "who" be actually essential, as opposed to non-essential? As I understand this clause should be separated by commas, as it provides additional information about the subject of the sentence.

If the author mentioned that the commas are not essential, then why were they left in the example?

Unless I'm misunderstanding the terms "essential" and "non-essential," there's a little bit of confusion here.


1 year ago


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