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    #1

    Commas

    I think the commas in the sentence below should've been omitted because they imply that Vince Carter has only one cousin, which is unlikely to be true.

    Vince Carter drives past his cousin, Tracy McGrady, on Friday night as the Magic topped the Pistons. (Source: NBA.com: Photos - Game Action: Dec. 3)

    What do you think?

    Thanks!

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    #2

    Re: Commas

    Quote Originally Posted by Jasmin165 View Post
    I think the commas in the sentence below should've been omitted because they imply that Vince Carter has only one cousin, which is unlikely to be true.

    Vince Carter drives past his cousin, Tracy McGrady, on Friday night as the Magic topped the Pistons. (Source: NBA.com: Photos - Game Action: Dec. 3)

    What do you think?

    Thanks!
    The appositive 'Tracy McGrady' renames the noun phrase 'his cousin'. That it is set-off by commas tells us it is not essential to the meaning of the sentence: you could leave it out and it would not change the meaning.

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    #3

    Re: Commas

    Quote Originally Posted by lauralie2 View Post
    The appositive 'Tracy McGrady' renames the noun phrase 'his cousin'. That it is set-off by commas tells us it is not essential to the meaning of the sentence: you could leave it out and it would not change the meaning.
    But I think "Tracy McGrady" is essential because it tells us which cousin is in question.

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    #4

    Re: Commas

    /A learner/

    Quote Originally Posted by Jasmin165 View Post
    I think the commas in the sentence below should've been omitted because they imply that Vince Carter has only one cousin, which is unlikely to be true.

    Vince Carter drives past his cousin, Tracy McGrady, on Friday night as the Magic topped the Pistons. (Source: NBA.com: Photos - Game Action: Dec. 3)

    What do you think?

    Thanks!
    Quote Originally Posted by Jasmin165 View Post
    But I think "Tracy McGrady" is essential because it tells us which cousin is in question.
    My opinion's bellow.

    The "Tracy McGrady" here, works for me like a non-defining relative clause to "Vince Carter drives past his cousin"
    The cousin here is "his". It means the cousin is defined by that.
    If I have understood my, a few, grammar books properly, the additional relative clause is non defining clause then.
    Even though we didn't know the name of his cousin we know that it is his cousin and not somebody else's.

    I think that this word order bellow asks for no commas.

    Vince Carter drives past Tracy McGrady who is his cousin, on Friday night..

    Here, "who is his cousin" is a defining relative clause then.
    Last edited by e2e4; 05-Dec-2010 at 11:59.

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    #5

    Re: Commas

    Quote Originally Posted by e2e4 View Post
    I think that this word order below asks for no commas.

    Vince Carter drives past Tracy McGrady who is his cousin, on Friday night.

    Here, "who is his cousin" is a defining relative clause then.
    It would be a defining relative clause in: He drove past the Tracy McGrady who is his cousin.. assuming that two or more people bear that name, but only one of them is his cousin.

    In your example, it has to be non- defining, with commas.

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    #6

    Re: Commas

    Quote Originally Posted by fivejedjon View Post
    It would be a defining relative clause in: He drove past the Tracy McGrady who is his cousin.. assuming that two or more people bear that name, but only one of them is his cousin.

    In your example, it has to be non- defining, with commas.
    But isn't it defining because it tells us which cousin? Vince Carter has several cousins, and "Tracy McGrady" tells us which one he's driving past. Setting off "Tracy McGrady" with commas implies, to me, that he has only one cousin.

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    #7

    Re: Commas

    Quote Originally Posted by Jasmin165 View Post
    But I think "Tracy McGrady" is essential because it tells us which cousin is in question.
    Yes, that's true, but it would change the meaning the author intended: Tracy is not in focus, Vince is.

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    #8

    Re: Commas

    Quote Originally Posted by Jasmin165 View Post
    But isn't it defining because it tells us which cousin? Vince Carter has several cousins, and "Tracy McGrady" tells us which one he's driving past. Setting off "Tracy McGrady" with commas implies, to me, that he has only one cousin.
    Not necessarily. Defining who immediately after Tracy McGrady can only define Tracey McGrady, not cousin. Names of people are not generally defined, though further information may be given about the people, because we generally assume that there is only one person of that name - at least in the situation described.

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    #9

    Re: Commas

    Quote Originally Posted by Jasmin165 View Post
    But isn't it defining because it tells us which cousin? Vince Carter has several cousins, and "Tracy McGrady" tells us which one he's driving past. Setting off "Tracy McGrady" with commas implies, to me, that he has only one cousin.
    We've had this issue arise before, though usually it is with brothers. There is a faction here that agrees with you. I do not think people generally intend to imbue so much meaning into a comma. To assume someone is the only cousin (or is not the only cousin) because of the presence or absence of a comma, to me, seems to be asking for too much.

    I think most people set off names with commas because there is a natural pause when saying "my brother, Tom, ..."

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    #10

    Re: Commas

    Quote Originally Posted by SoothingDave View Post
    We've had this issue arise before, though usually it is with brothers. There is a faction here that agrees with you. I do not think people generally intend to imbue so much meaning into a comma. To assume someone is the only cousin (or is not the only cousin) because of the presence or absence of a comma, to me, seems to be asking for too much.

    I think most people set off names with commas because there is a natural pause when saying "my brother, Tom, ..."
    I disagree with you. To me, the purpose of punctuation is (among other things) to allow us to make such fine distinctions.

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