comma before present participle: visit my mother, living in London


Senior Member

Do I use comma in my sentence:

"I need to visit my mother, living in London"; I guess I need "," since it is non-restrictive. Am I right?

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  • I don't see the need for a comma, EnLearner.

    So what are the differences of

    A)My friend David, living in London, is coming here.(commas are used; it means there is only one David I know and he is coming here)
    B)My friend living in London is coming here.(A comma is not used; it means there are many friends of mine living in different cities; the one living in London is coming)

    My example "I need to visit my mother, living in London." is like example A; that is, I have only one mother and she lives in London; hence, I need to punctuate my sentence with commas; in my case a comma and a dot(since it is the end of the sentence.)

    Am I right?
    Well, to be frank, I would not say, "living in London". It does not sound right to me. I would say "I need to visit my mother in London".

    If you think you need to confirm to someone that your mother lives in London, and you need to go there to visit her, then I would say, "I need to visit my mother who is living in London".

    The comma is used to set off a clause or a list of adjectives or adverbs. "I need to visit my mother living in London "., is a single clause " is a single clause and has no series of adverbs or adjectives that need to be set off with commas.

    This is my opinion. Let's see what others may have to say.
    "I need to visit my mother, who lives in London." This needs a comma for the reason you gave.

    If you have two sisters, one lives in London, and the other lives in Barcelona: "I need to visit my sister who lives in London."
    There's something a little strange about using that tense for 'to live' but ignoring that oddity, the comma is required, for all the good reasons that you've given (you only have one mother).

    "My mother, eating the apple, would far rather an orange."

    BUT another problem arises when you introduce complexity:

    "I need to visit my mother, eating an apple." - who exactly is doing the eating here?
    Well, there you are! I knew someone more learned in punctuation rules would do better than I did! Too many years away from English classes in school have fogged my brain.