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That was especially detrimental to me, who desiring to become a professional athlete, always avoided eating those types of foods.

When I try to look at what the main sentence is, it seems like it would be "That was especially detrimental to me." since you couldn't say "That was especially detrimental to me always avoided eating those types of foods." If that's the case, then the second comma would need to be removed. But the sentence just sounds awkward to we without the second comma.

I'm kind of making the sentence up, so I changed it a bit, and let's say the person is referring to a quota he was given of having to eat at Mc Donalds every day.

  • I need more context to make an assessment. What precedes 'That especially applied to me'? – whippoorwill Feb 27 '14 at 22:18
  • The second comma is fine: it is the first which, being before rather than after who, is misplaced. (See what I did there?) – TimLymington Feb 27 '14 at 22:19
  • That first comma is needed, but the OP needs to provide more context. – whippoorwill Feb 27 '14 at 22:20
  • It's a very awkward sentence and it needs some tweaking. – whippoorwill Feb 27 '14 at 22:21
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    That especially applied to me, who -- desiring to become a professional athlete -- always avoided eating those types of foods. One comma, two dashes. – John Lawler Feb 27 '14 at 22:24
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Another comma after who would help:

That was especially detrimental to me, who, desiring to become a professional athlete, always avoided eating those types of foods.

Very Dickensian in its flavor that way though.

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As Joe has mentioned, you need to add another comma instead of removing one. This is because the clause "desiring to become a professional athlete" is explaining the word "who", and so one simplified version of the sentence would be:

That was especially detrimental to me, who always avoided eating those types of food.

And then you expand on "who" part to be the complete sentence:

That was especially detrimental to me, who, desiring to become a professional athlete, always avoided eating those types of food.

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    Good explanation of what I left out! – Joe McMahon Mar 4 '14 at 1:46

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