The man, who is standing there, is her ex-husband. Are these commas needed? Or is it:

The man who is standing there is her ex-husband.

  • 2
    Questions that say “Is this right?” without anything supporting them are nothing but proofreading, and therefore off-topic here. You need to show your the results of your previous research on the matter, and point out why you think yours is somehow a special case where such things do not apply. You have to show what your confusion really is.
    – tchrist
    Jun 25, 2014 at 16:55
  • Note also that commas are an orthographic concern, not a grammatical one.
    – tchrist
    Jun 25, 2014 at 17:01
  • quickanddirtytips.com/education/grammar/… Here you should find everything you need to know about this topic.
    – KnightHawk
    Jun 25, 2014 at 17:06
  • It depends on what you mean. If who is standing there is intended to identify the man—to make clear which man you are talking about—the commas should not be used. If who is standing there is merely an additional piece of information about a man who is already identified, the commas should be used. Jun 25, 2014 at 17:21

3 Answers 3


If "who is standing there" is a restrictive clause--if it provides information that is necessary to distinguish the subject from others of the same type--you don't use commas. This is the scenario you're probably thinking of.

If, on the other hand, the clause merely provides additional but unnecessary information, it is a non-restrictive clause and should be set apart with commas. For example:

A man just said hello to my colleague. The man, who is standing there, is her ex-husband.

As the subject "the man" has already been distinguished by the first sentence, removing "who is standing there" from the second sentence does not make the subject ambiguous. Therefore, it is a non-restrictive clause, and requires commas.

For more, see When to use “that” and when to use “which”?


Not only are the commas not needed, who is may also be removed:

The man standing there is her ex-husband.


I think that the sentence can be simplified by getting rid of "who is".

Instead writing the sentence as: The man standing there is her ex-husband.

But if you are only looking at the current sentence, the commas are not necessary.

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