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comma after parenthesis: Coral Cove (so named for...), a spot not far

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Scar504, May 4, 2013.

  1. Scar504 Junior Member

    The English That's Spoken In America
    Consider the following sentence:

    According to the map, the treasure lay hidden under Coral Cove (so named for its extensive variety of corals) a spot not far from town.

    Warning: I just made that up.

    If you were to omit the parenthetical statement, a comma would be required before "a spot"; however, with the parentheses, having a comma there seems redundant.

    You wouldn't write "According to the map, the treasure lay hidden under Coral Cove, so named for its extensive variety of corals,, a spot not far from town."

    So why would you write "According to the map, the treasure lay hidden under Coral Cove (so named for its extensive variety of corals), a spot not far from town."

    What are your thoughts?
     
  2. Cagey post mod

    California
    English - US
    I don't know why you would omit the comma after the parenthetical statement. I don't think you should base your decision on what you would do if you were using a different construction and a different form of punctuation.
     
  3. Scar504 Junior Member

    The English That's Spoken In America
    The parenthesis seems to perform the job of the comma in the above sentence; it seems unnecessary. What ambiguity would arise by leaving out the comma?
     
  4. Cagey post mod

    California
    English - US
    If, guided by the parentheses, a reader drops out the inserted statement, they will read the sentence as:
    According to the map, the treasure lay hidden under Coral Cove a spot not far from town.
    This would not please me, if it were something I were writing. Perhaps it doesn't bother you.
     
  5. Scar504 Junior Member

    The English That's Spoken In America
    No, that wouldn't sit well with me either, and that does, in fact, follow from my logic. I suppose a comma it should be. At any rate, the addition of a comma would at most be a minor redundancy.
     
  6. lucas-sp Senior Member

    English - Californian
    No it doesn't. The parentheses isolate the foreign material that has been included in the sentence. They aren't like dashes, which can actually do the job of commas when they get added into a sentence:

    According to the map, the treasure lay hidden under Coral Cove - so named for its extensive variety of corals - a spot not far from town.

    Basically, if you have parentheses, you should be able to pluck them out of the sentence (with their contents) and still have a perfectly-grammatical, perfectly-punctuated sentence.

    There's only one exception - parenthetical citation, which can be really weird and has its own rules that interfere with normal sentence-punctuation in AE.
     

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