comma with apposition vs direct address: take Bachelorette #3, Chuck.


New Member
Hello, everyone. I had a question about simple comma usage. Hopefully, you can help.

Here is an example of the type of usage in question:

1) I'll take Bachelorette #3, Chuck.

I was speaking with a friend in chat who claims that one could make the argument that I am referring to Bachelorette #3 as Chuck. I say that it's a stretch. The sentence could be written this way, as well:

2) Chuck, I'll take Bachelorette #3.

A little clearer with regards to the target of my comment... but does that make the first example unclear or wrong? Could I, in fact, be referring to Chuck as Bachelorette #3 in the first example?

Thanks for your assistance. I've been coming here for awhile and reading, but only signed up, today. I look forward to participating when possible.
  • Hello skratte, and welcome to active participation in WordReference.
    The comma in the first sentence is necessary.
    Unfortunately it means the sandwich! sandwich? sentence is ambiguous.
    You are either speaking to Chuck or you are saying you'll take Bachelorette #3, who is Chuck.

    For more information on the use of commas with the name of a person being spoken too have a look HERE.
    In section #4:
    Use a comma to set off parenthetical elements,
    An addressed person's name is also always parenthetical.

    Also HERE.
    A vocative — an addressed person's name or substitute name — is often a single word but sometimes takes the form of a noun phrase. A vocative is always treated as a parenthetical element and is thus set off from the rest of the sentence with a comma or a pair of commas (if it appears within the flow of a sentence).

    These links are from one of the punctuation sites included in the useful links post of the sticky at the top of this forum.

    In spoken English, of course, the sentences would sound quite different so the ambiguity is only there in the written form, without context.
    In context, we would probably know who was being spoken to.