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    #1

    comma rule with names

    Hi there:

    I am glad that I found this forum. I googled for a comma rule for names and couldn't find an answer to my question.

    In general there is a comma required following a name. However, I think sometimes it "sounds" strange to put a comma. See the following examples:

    - "All selections are handpicked by winemaker Steve Ledson."
    - "Winemaker Steve Ledson will share his secrets with you."

    I don't think there should be a comma. I would put a comma in the following sentence:

    "You can discuss this with winemaking staff, including owner and head winemaker, Steve Ledson."

    Please let me know if this is correct.

    Thanks,
    Elke

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    #2

    Re: comma rule with names

    Quote Originally Posted by Ledson View Post
    Welcome!
    In general there is a comma required following a name. No there isn't, unless there is a good reason to use a comma.


    Jane Doe will call you tomorrow.
    Call Jane Doe or me before you leave tomorrow.
    Jane Doe, the lady I told you about last week, will help you when I am away.

    However, I think sometimes it "sounds" strange to put a comma. See the following examples:

    1 All selections are handpicked by winemaker Steve Ledson."
    2 "Winemaker Steve Ledson will share his secrets with you."

    I don't think there should be a comma. I agree.

    I would put a comma in the following sentence:

    3 "You can discuss this with the winemaking staff, including owner and head winemaker, Steve Ledson." If you don't use a comma before the name in sentence1, why do you want to use a comma before the name here?


    Thanks,
    Elke
    2006

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    #3

    Re: comma rule with names

    Thanks.
    Do you know which rules apply so that I can explain my colleagues?


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    #4

    Re: comma rule with names

    thanks a lot

  1. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: comma rule with names

    You may be thinking about an appositive.

    Purdue OWL: Appositives

    Take a look at this link and see if it's what you're thinking about. If not, come back to us!
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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    #6

    Re: comma rule with names

    Quote Originally Posted by Ledson View Post
    Hi there:

    I am glad that I found this forum. I googled for a comma rule for names and couldn't find an answer to my question.

    In general there is a comma required following a name. However, I think sometimes it "sounds" strange to put a comma. See the following examples:

    - "All selections are handpicked by winemaker Steve Ledson."
    - "Winemaker Steve Ledson will share his secrets with you."

    I don't think there should be a comma. I would put a comma in the following sentence:

    "You can discuss this with winemaking staff, including owner and head winemaker, Steve Ledson."

    Please let me know if this is correct.

    Thanks,
    Elke
    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****


    (1) I think (think) that we are talking about changing appositives to titles.

    (2) For example, maybe your last sentence should be something like:

    You can discuss this with [the] winemaking staff, including

    Steve Ledson, the owner and head winemaker.

    (3) Of course, that is very formal. I believe that starting in the 1920's,

    our famous TIME magazine started changing the appositive ("the owner

    and head winemaker" into a title: The owner and head winemaker Steve

    Ledson. This arrangement made things more direct. It became very

    popular. In fact, newspapers and magazines also started dropping the

    "the": Convicted murderer XXX was executed last night. (Instead of:

    XXX, the convicted murderer, was executed last night.)

    As the other poster told you, since you have decided to use this very

    popular method of turning an occupation into a title, you do not need a

    comma. As you know, one does not use commas after titles:

    Mr. Smith

    Prime Minister Winston Churchill

    President George Washington

    If you want to really understand all the rules regarding how to punctuate

    titles, I most respectfully suggest that you and your colleagues get

    a copy of an American newspaper stylebook (which tells its reporters the

    punctuation rules used by that newspaper). Our most influential

    newspaper, The New York Times, is not too happy with occupational

    titles, but it seems that most other American publications have no trouble

    accepting them. If you have specific questions, you can post them

    here. One of the moderators, for example, makes her living writing for

    publications, so she can really give you up-to-date information.


    *****NOT A TEACHER*****
    Last edited by TheParser; 29-Oct-2010 at 00:23.

  2. 5jj's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: comma rule with names

    Quote Originally Posted by TheParser View Post
    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****

    1920's, As you know, one does not use commas after titles:

    Mr. Smith

    Prime Minister Winston Churchill


    *****NOT A TEACHER*****
    As TheParser has pointed out, this is a comparatively recent (for someone as old as I) development. As late as the 1960s, my schoolmasters would have rejected Prime Minister Winston Churchill and insisted on the Prime Minister, Winston Churchill. They would have accepted President George Washington, however either because that's the way the ignorant Americans did it, or because he was a head of state like Queen Elizabeth II.

  3. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: comma rule with names

    Quote Originally Posted by fivejedjon View Post
    As TheParser has pointed out, this is a comparatively recent (for someone as old as I) development. As late as the 1960s, my schoolmasters would have rejected Prime Minister Winston Churchill and insisted on the Prime Minister, Winston Churchill. They would have accepted President George Washington, however either because that's the way the ignorant Americans did it, or because he was a head of state like Queen Elizabeth II.
    That's such an odd distinction.

    So Prime Minister Winston Churchill is wrong
    President George Washington is right
    Queen Elizabeth II is right
    ... what about a country that did not have a crown and the PM was the head of state? Then no comma?
    What about Poet Laureate? There is only one at a time?


    (I have a hard time explaining that a grammar rule would be based on your knowledge of the nation's politics!)

    (Sorry to go off topic, but the difference between those cases is hard for me to wrap my arms around.)
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

  4. 5jj's Avatar
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    #9

    Re: comma rule with names

    Quote Originally Posted by Barb_D View Post
    That's such an odd distinction.

    So Prime Minister Winston Churchill is wrong
    President George Washington is right
    Queen Elizabeth II is right
    ... what about a country that did not have a crown and the PM was the head of state? Then no comma?
    What about Poet Laureate? There is only one at a time?


    (I have a hard time explaining that a grammar rule would be based on your knowledge of the nation's politics!)

    (Sorry to go off topic, but the difference between those cases is hard for me to wrap my arms around.)
    My first point is to say that I was describing my schooldays 60 years ago.
    Prime Minister Winston Churchill would not, I think be considered wrong today, but many educated people of my age would not use it.
    President and King/Queen/Price/Princess were, if my memory serves me right, the only titles used without the. Thus we would speak of Hirohito, the Emperor of Japan rather than Emperor Hirohito, and John Masefield, the Poet Laureate.

    The grammar was not based on a knowledge of the nation's politics, but rather on a pretty arbitrary set of rules that had grown up over five centuries. You only have to go back through the tracts of the Society for Pure English (or the letters pages of The Times or the BBC's archives of letters and calls of complaints) to see what heat was - and still is - generated by some pedant's discovery of a solecism in the media.

    I am not defending this. Parser and I were merely pointing out some curiosities. We were, and I am, probably still off topic on this. I have some old grammars in my study; f you are interested, we can continue this by PM, so that we don't confuse everybody with irrelevancies.

  5. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #10

    Re: comma rule with names

    Oh, sorry. I didn't mean to imply that you were advocating its use today, but I was just curious as to how it worked, even "back then."

    I'm not familiar with the "Society for Pure English." I'll try to google later, but was that like an early form of the Academy Francais, or whatever the right name is of the group that decides what is proper French?

    I just love tracing the changes in language. I think it's more interesting to do that than to talk about what's "correct" in modern time. It's one of the reasons I love Bob's contributions to threads - he always has these interesting historical perspectives on how a word was used.

    I've hijacked the thread now... sorry!
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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