comma/not before 'who' [relative pronoun]: Dr. Connors who's my

Discussion in 'English Only' started by JungKim, Jan 25, 2013.

  1. JungKim Senior Member

    Here's a quote from the Amazing Spider-Man:
    Peter Parker: Dr. Curtis Connors, he's a biochemist...
    Captain Stacy: Of OsCorp?
    Peter Parker: That's right.
    Captain Stacy: Okay. Dr. Curtis Connors who's also my daughters mentor. Is that who you're talking about?
    Peter Parker: That's the one.
    (For more context, see here.)

    In line 4, there is no comma between "Dr. Curtis Connors" and the who relative clause.
    And I noticed that the relative clause is actually modifies "Dr. Curtis Connors" rather than supplementing it.
    So is this why the comma is not used there?
  2. owlman5

    owlman5 Senior Member

    Placing a comma after "Connors" would have been a good idea, JungKim. Note that you are reading a dialog. Writers are often hard-pressed to write convincing spoken language while preserving the punctuation we are accustomed to seeing in text. The missing comma may well be nothing more than a small error.
  3. Cenzontle

    Cenzontle Senior Member

    English, U.S.
    I don't regard the missing comma as necessarily an error.
    A proper noun usually is sufficient to uniquely identify a person or thing,
    so a following relative clause is normally nonrestrictive (not necessary for identifying),
    and so normally a comma is used.
    But in this dialog it seems that Captain Stacy is not satisfied with "Dr. Curtis Connors" as a unique identification,
    as if there could be more than one person with that name.
    So I see how he could be using "who's also my daughters mentor" as a restrictive relative clause (without a comma).
    He could have asked "Is it the same Dr. Curtis Connors who is my daughter's mentor?"
  4. Parla Member Emeritus

    New York City
    English - US
    I agree with Cenzontle's reasoning. (The only error there is the missing apostrophe in daughter's.)

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