comma after 'Jr.' before verb [abbreviation]: Joseph Biden Jr.,..

Discussion in 'English Only' started by LQZ, Jul 15, 2010.

  1. LQZ

    LQZ Senior Member

    Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., unveiled a new report with Christina D. Romer, the chairwoman of the Council of Economic Advisors, that shows that the pace of fiscal stimulus has accelerated. ---taken from the NYT

    Dear all,

    I was taught that a comma can't be put after a subject except for a parenthesis inserted between a subject and a verb. But it seems that the above doesn't comply with what I was taught. Could you please tell me whether the comma is wrongly used? Thanks.

  2. owlman5

    owlman5 Senior Member

    I agree with you, LQZ. I don't think that comma belongs there after Joseph R. Biden Jr. I'll bet it's a mistake.
  3. panjandrum

    panjandrum Occasional Moderator

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    If Jo Biden had commas on both sides it would almost be OK - correct but a bit odd :)
    The Vice President, Joseph R. Biden Jr., unveiled...
    Here the name is in apposition to the position.

    I agree with owlman. The original is a mistake that has slipped through.
  4. Andygc

    Andygc Senior Member

    British English
    This, is becoming a very common error. I, feel sufficiently strongly about it to describe it as wrong, as opposed to just being a variant. In days gone by newspapers, had sub-editors whose job it was to correct journalists' work. Now the press, seems to rely on grammar and spelling checkers.

    I cannot understand how the writers can check through their work and not trip over, mentally, every time they stumble across another of these intrusive commas.

    Panj, it isn't a case of slipping through, they just don't know any better. I regularly read the house journal of The Royal Aeronautical Society. The principal writer litters his prose with these disruptive commas.
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2010
  5. Spira Banned

    South of France
    UK English
    He probably also think's that apostrophe's don't matter either! :D
  6. entangledbank

    entangledbank Senior Member

    English - South-East England
    The only excuse for a comma after the subject is when the subject is enormously long, 20 words or more, and the writer and reader need to draw breath and wipe their brow before continuing. This is also an indicator that the sentence should be rewritten.
  7. Csaba Member

    The Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajokull, has been declared inactive.

    Still sounds incorrect to me. I know it's not really 20 words but it is quite long.
  8. LQZ

    LQZ Senior Member

    Thank you, everyone. I am happy I caught the edtor's napping. :D
  9. Majorbloodnock Senior Member

    South East England
    British English
    That's because it is incorrect. Grammatically, you could say "The Icelandic volcano, Eyjafjallajokull, has been declared inactive", although this would imply that Eyjafjallajokull is the only volcano in Iceland. However, if you omit the comma before the name, you should omit it after as well.

    I know I follow the more old-fashioned rules for commas, but they still serve a purpose. I agree with AndyGC about the reliance on electronic proofing tools. However, I suspect that if someone doesn't know any better then they won't trip up on checking their work since they're following the same misconceptions whilst reading as they applied when writing. Ah, well, never mind. Perhaps this site can convert a few of them.

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