A comma after a noun

Discussion in 'English Only' started by takashi0930, Jan 14, 2018.

  1. takashi0930 Senior Member

    This is from the New England Journal of Medicine.

    Presentation of Case
    (content omitted)
    Differential Diagnosis
    (content omitted)
    Clinical Diagnosis
    (content omitted)
    Pathological Discussion
    (content omitted)
    Discussion of Management
    (content omitted)
    Final Diagnosis
    Adenovirus infection, disseminated.

    What's the role of this comma after "infection"? If I removed the comma, would it make the sentence incorrect?
  2. Edinburgher Senior Member

    German/English bilingual
    It's not a sentence, just a noun phrase. "Disseminated" is a verb participle acting as an adjective, and normally the adjective would come first: "Disseminated adenovirus infection".
    Here the keyword "adenovirus infection" is more important and comes first, and it is usual to add a comma when the adjective comes after it.

    Another example: "Screws, Philips head, countersunk, 5mm, 50mm".
  3. takashi0930 Senior Member

    I see. How about if it was a sentence? "The final diagnosis was adenovirus infection, desseminated." In this case, is the comma necessary as well?
  4. dojibear Senior Member

    Fresno CA
    English - Northeast US
    Yes, the comma is necessary, when putting the adjective after the noun.
  5. takashi0930 Senior Member

    I see. Thank you very much!
  6. lingobingo

    lingobingo Senior Member

    English - England
    The diagnosis was, in effect, “adenovirus infection (which had spread throughout the patient’s body)” – the word disseminated being added as an adjunct to the main description.

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