In the introduction to his book [of] A Tale of Two Cities,..


Senior Member

- In the introduction to his book of A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens writes........

- In the introduction to his book, A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens writes...........

I have two sentences which I constructed because I cannot determine to put 'of' or a comma. In my opinion, the second one is OK, but I am not sure.

  • Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    Using 'of' is wrong. The title of the book is "A Tale of Two Cities". In the sentence it is a parenthetical comment (His book? Which book? "A Tale of Two Cities") and should be separated by commas. Your second sentence is correct. You could put the title between quotation marks, or italicise it, but that is a matter of style. Whatevef you choose to do, you still need the commas.


    Senior Member
    English - England
    Of cannot be correct as it does not make sense: "of" = about/concerning/comprising/containing/possessing

    "I have the book of instructions for the machine." = "I have the book about/concerning/comprising/containing/possessing instructions for the machine." :tick:

    The commas are parenthetical: the information between them is a refinement of the noun "book" - A Tale of Two Cities is a title.

    (Slow crosspost with Andygc)


    Senior Member
    UK English
    I would only write a comma if the text was, for example, Introduction to this book, A Tale of Two Cities, Dickens ...
    A comma suggests that he only wrote one book. It would be like writing In the year, 2000, he ...
    The text is an example of restrictive apposition.

    Of course, it would be simpler to write "In the introduction to A Tale of Two Cities." (cross-posted with Rover)


    Senior Member
    British English
    On reflection, I agree with e2efour that in this sentence the title is not parenthetical, and I retract my comment that the commas are needed. I also agree that the simpler sentence is preferable.
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