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  1. #1
    nyugaton is offline Junior Member
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    Is comma needed?

    Hi, this is my first post in this forum; thank you admins and mods for giving us a great opportunity for asking questions.

    "It was performed at Palais Garnier, the Opera House named after the architect, Charles Garnier."
    Does the sentence need comma between "architect" and "Charles"?

  2. #2
    MrPedantic is offline Moderator
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    Re: Is comma needed?

    Hello Nyugaton, welcome to Using English!

    1. It was performed at P. G., the opera house named after the architect, C. G.

    2. It was performed at P. G., the opera house named after the architect C. G.

    #1 implies that P.G. was the architect who designed the opera house. #2 doesn't imply this. So in this context, since he did design the opera house, I would keep the comma.

    All the best,
    MrP

  3. #3
    nyugaton is offline Junior Member
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    Re: Is comma needed?

    Thanks for welcoming me, and replying to me for this question, MrP!
    But why having the comma makes it mean "Garnier was the architect of the opera house"? Apart from the fact that Garnier was the architect of the building.

  4. #4
    MrPedantic is offline Moderator
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    Re: Is comma needed?

    Hello Nyugaton,

    I'll divide the example into three parts:

    1. It was performed at P. G., | the opera house named after the architect, | C. G.

    The second part gives us more information about "PG" (it tells us the reason for its name). The third part gives us more information about the architect of the opera house (it tells us his name).

    The comma before CG means that CG is in apposition to "architect" (that's the function of the comma).

    Since no particular architect has been mentioned in the first part, the definite article before "architect" can't have the function of referring to a thing or person that has already been mentioned. It must therefore refer to a person or thing that is implicit in the context. In this context, the likeliest reference is therefore to the architect of the opera house.

    This does not apply to the second sentence, however:

    2. It was performed at P. G., the opera house named after the architect C. G.
    Here, because there is no comma, "the architect" modifies CG: we know only that the opera house was named after him. He may have designed it too' but we can't tell from the sentence.

    _____

    That said, it is quite possible that #1 would be used with the intended sense of #2.

    All the best,

    MrP

  5. #5
    elozasro is offline Newbie
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    Re: Is comma needed?

    Hallo to everybody,
    this is my first time contribute here in the discussion, my question is what is the difference between the following sentences, if any and what are they called linguistically?
    My friend, whose name is Tim, lives nearby.
    My friend whose name is Time lives nearby.

    thank you a lot.
    That was a question in a test I got recently.
    thank you.
    elozasro

  6. #6
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    Re: Is comma needed?

    elozasro, the difference is that with commas, it is a non-defining relative clause; without commas, it is defining.

    In a non-defining relative clause, the information is not necessary. It's interesting, perhaps, but you could leave it out and the reader would still know who or what you were talking about:

    My friend, whose name is Tim, lives nearby.
    My friend lives nearby. (You may be interesting to know that his name is Tim.)

    In a defining relative clause, the information is very important:

    My friend whose name is Tim lives nearby.
    I have lots of friends, but it is the one called Tim who lives nearby. All the others live far away.

    Consider these two sentences:

    The dancers, who were wearing top-hats, were very good.
    The dancers who were wearing top-hats were very good.

    In the first sentence, all the dancers were good, and all the dancers were wearing top-hats. In the second sentence, some of the dancers were not wearing hats; but only the dancers who did wear top-hats were very good.

  7. #7
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    Re: Is comma needed?

    It's cool how a comma can subtly change what the sentence infers eh? I'm fluent in english and even I didn't catch that.

    In the second case, the architect CG might simply have been an architect the architect who actually designed it had admired.

  8. #8
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    Re: Is comma needed?

    Quote Originally Posted by tyciol View Post
    It's cool how a comma can subtly change what the sentence infers eh?
    You mean "implies", eh?

    Commas can be extremely important. Here's a story about a comma which cost one company $2 million (Canadian).

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