comma with apposition (name): the centre-forward, Milton Smith

norwolf

Senior Member
Chinese
Hi, teachers.
The question is: can we omit the comma in " the Chelsea centre-forward, Milton Smith"?
Please.
Thank you very much.
 
  • George French

    Senior Member
    English - UK
    Hi, teachers.
    The question is: can we omit the comma in " the Chelsea centre-forward, Milton Smith"?
    Please.
    Thank you very much.

    Of course you can; but should you do it?

    GF..

    I'll leave it to the grammarians to explain this use of the comma....
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Not a grammarian, but I'll comment anyway. "Milton Smith" is an appositive, a term that further explains "the Chelsea centre-forward". Appositives are often set apart by commas from the rest of the sentence, but...
    Sometimes the appositive and the word it identifies are so closely related that the comma can be omitted, as in "His wife Eleanor suddenly decided to open her own business." We could argue that the name "Eleanor" is not essential to the meaning of the sentence (assuming he has only one wife), and that would suggest that we can put commas both before and after the name (and that would, indeed, be correct). But "his wife" and "Eleanor" are so close that we can regard the entire phrase as one unit and leave out the commas.
    Source
     

    norwolf

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    the Chelsea centre-forward Milton Smith
    Chelsea centre-forward Milton Smith
    Chelsea's centre-forward, Milton Smith
    Chelsea's centre-forward Milton Smith
    Milton Smith, Chelsea's centre-forward
    Are they all correct?
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Maybe, or maybe not.
    They look kind of OK, but these are only phrases.
    Look at the link I posted to see examples where they might not be correct.
     
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