In the sentence

His ID card is missing, as well as his dog, Ian, though it's likely no-one will notice the latter.

is it appropriate to remove the commas around "his dog, Ian,"? The sentence seems a bit clunky with, but it doesn't sound quite right without either. This:

His ID card is missing. His dog, Ian, is as well.

avoids the comma problem, but sounds equally awkward.

2 Answers 2


Perhaps the first, but not the second comma.

I suggest 'His ID card is missing, as well as his dog Ian; though it is likely no-one will notice the latter'.

Note I have replaced the comma after Ian with a semi colon. This is not essential, but there has to be some speech mark there in order to separate Ian from the second part of the sentence, which would, if you wanted it to, stand as a separate sentence altogether.

I tend to omit commas in simple sentences, where the message is obvious, such as 'Tiddles the cat died'.

With subordinate clauses you need a pair of commas, or in my example a comma and a semi-colon. These two commas partition the clause from the rest of the sentence. When pondering where to put the commas remember that the sentence still has to make grammatical sense if the part between commas is omitted.


The forms with and without commas neatly represent the two types of appositives.


his dog, Ian

it is understood that "he" has only one dog, and that it is named Ian. If it is a non-critical detail and you wish to simplify it, you would remove the detail in its entirety, not just the comma, for to say

his dog Ian

indicates that he has more than one dog, and therefore Ian specifies which dog is being referenced. In that case, Ian would indeed be critical to the meaning of the sentence.

I don't see a "comma problem," but splitting up the sentence may help:

His ID card is missing, as well as his dog, Ian. It's likely no-one will notice the latter, though.

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