infestation of aliens, who...

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wizard8451

Senior Member
Mexico, Spanish
Needless to say, the world has been thoroughly rocked by the new infestation of aliens, who - despite what we wish to think - do not have good hearts, or maybe even hearts at all.

I'm not sure if there should be a comma before 'who'. But since I intend to mean that there is only one group of aliens, I think the comma should stay. Is my rationale correct?
 
  • Gorgiewave

    Senior Member
    Scotland, English
    I would keep the comma. Your are adding further information which could be an afterthought. Without a comma sounds like a straightforward relationship.
     

    jamesjiao

    Senior Member
    New Zealand English and Mandarin Chinese
    Needless to say, the world has been thoroughly rocked by the new infestation of aliens, who - despite what we wish to think - do not have good hearts, or maybe even hearts at all.

    I'm not sure if there should be a comma before 'who'. But since I intend to mean that there is only one group of aliens, I think the comma should stay. Is my rationale correct?
    I tend to overuse commas for stylistic reasons in my writing. I think the comma here is actually quite good! It sort of complements the dashes that come after it.
     

    se16teddy

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Generally speaking, the meaning or nuance is affected by whether you introduce the relative clause with a comma or not.

    The world has no problem with aliens that have hearts living among us. However, the world has been rocked by the new infestation of aliens who don't have hearts. Here the absence of the comma means this is a restrictive relative clause: it indicates that we are only talking about aliens that don't have hearts, and not about the ones that do.

    The world has been rocked by the new infestation of aliens, who don't have hearts. The presence of the comma means that this is a desciptive relative clause: aliens (or the aliens that are here) do not have hearts.

    I guess that Wizard's sentence does not mean to imply that there are other aliens that do have hearts. I therefore think the comma should be included.
     
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