The Idea of “Essential”

As I have stated on other occasions, there is widespread confusion or perhaps lack of understanding of what the terms “essential” and “nonessential” mean in punctuation. I would say again: Putting a pair of commas around an element does not always mean that you can take it out of the sentence and have the sentence make sense. In other words, …

One More Time…

What do we do with “…my son Scott…?” Comma or not? This is the “essential/nonessential” dilemma, the hardest concept in all of punctuation. I would suggest that you read the entire chapter in my book on this. It is Chapter 4. The rule is very difficult to condense into a few sentences. When I explain it, it is about 30 …

Which is…

“Which is/are” begins an adjective clause. If the clause is necessary to define the word it modifies and could not be removed without losing communication, then there is no comma before it. If the clause contains information which is nice to know but does not really define the word it modifies and is not really necessary to the meaning, there …