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My friend wrote me an email with the sentence

Would the coming Tuesday at 12:15 be okay for you?

I immediately thought there should be a comma somewhere in the sentence. Well, he doesn't agree with me, and we have been trying to figure out who is correct.

Am I correct, and if so, why and what comma rule does this fall under?

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    It looks good to me. – anongoodnurse Jan 26 '14 at 4:40
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    Can you explain why you believe a comma is required, why your friend does not, and what you believe the purpose of the comma is? That will make it easier for us to identify where the confusion lies and provide better guidance to resolve it. – choster Jan 26 '14 at 4:53
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According to the rules of commas, and there are many, additional information that is not necessary to the meaning you wish to convey is set off by a comma. I'm simplifying the language of my explanation for any reader who is not a native speaker of English.

Would the coming Tuesday at 12:15 be okay for you?

In your sentence, there is no comma required because all of the information in the sentence is necessary to convey, to pass on, the meaning you want. All of the information defines the meaning: the time; the date. None of the information is additional information, such as information that defines the noun more (an appositive or a non-defining relative clause).

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    Most rules about commas, certainly any that mention grammar or information, aren't right. A comma represents a specific intonation contour in order to point the reader to a particular reading. See here for details. – John Lawler Jan 26 '14 at 15:25
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    @ John Lawler. Well, my experience from reading both American and British books, magazines and newspapers leads me to believe that Americans use more commas than the British. I did read the link you posted and can only say that for the layman that's a lot to digest. I know that universities and other educational institutions now have to teach students not to separate the subject from the verb with a comma. When native speakers of English don't even know something as basic as that, I question whether many understand the idea of "intonation contour" or even the common term "pauses". – Babs Jan 26 '14 at 18:17
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    I understand, but I have a hard time accepting the following sentence, which I copied verbatim from the Internet, as good English: The hardest thing to do in a relationship, is to always be honest. – Babs Jan 26 '14 at 18:47
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    Well, I've always been pedantic when it comes to commas. But you've helped me to see this from a new perspective. We're always learning. Thanks. – Babs Jan 26 '14 at 19:44
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    @JohnLawler That is a very interesting read. But can I ask if this is your own theory (for want of a better word) or a commonly accepted one? And either way, did comma use in English begin like this in your opinion or begin as a grammatical marker? (Sorry to ask here but I'm very interested). – nxx Jan 27 '14 at 19:54
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Grammatically speaking your sentence does not require a comma. There is nothing requiring a comma anywhere. What did you have in mind as a reason why a comma might be required?

  • Commas are not a matter of grammar in English, but of pronunciation; specifically, of intonation contours. No comma is needed here because the sentence is too short to have any marked intonation. – John Lawler Jan 26 '14 at 15:17
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You don't need a comma anywhere in there. Everything is there, including the time and the date. There is no additional information, for example where it will be, which I assume you already know where it will be by context. It seems, though, like they can take out the "the" because grammatically speaking, you don't really need it.

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    This adds nothing to the existing answers. – Chenmunka Mar 28 '15 at 9:55

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