Friday, February 24, 2012

Common Problems (Part 33 of 50)

Properly punctuate nouns in apposition. If the person is the only one, you separate with commas: Apposition means placed beside. The noun in apposition, called an appositive, identifies or explains the noun or pronoun preceding it.

* My friend, Charlie, will go. As written, it means you have only one friend and his name is Charlie.

* My wife Shirley likes to read. As written, I'm a polygamist. Because I have only one wife, I would write: My wife, Shirley, likes to read. Wife and Shirley refer to the same person.

* His sister Ashleigh’s room was painted green. (This means he has more than one sister.)

* We'll visit our close friends Willie and Cissy. (This means you have several close friends.)

If the two words refer to the same person or thing, 
I need commas around the second word.

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A note from Twila:

Cec is thinking about doing a one-day seminar on the inner writer, based on his book Unleash the Writer Within. If you had the opportunity to attend a seminar on the inner writer, what would you want Cec to address? Email me with your suggestions.


  1. I've been struggling with this issue in a draft of my novel, putting commas around a name only to take them out again, uncertain. And I've done it over and over. Thank you!!!

  2. Thanks for confirming what I thought.


What are your thoughts?