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Just wondering whether the comma after 'woman' is correct in the title. The meaning of the sentence is: 'I am not a king, nor is this woman a queen.' The reason I don't simply write it that way is because it's a line for a poem. Thanks.

  • I think it's pretty good the way it is. What the second comma implies is that "is no" has been elided. (And, of course, poetry gets a free pass anyway.) – Hot Licks Feb 10 '15 at 22:49
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This is an example of the use of the gapping comma (ie the comma in its gapping-comma role).

Commas: The Gapping Comma

The gapping comma is very easy. We use a gapping comma to show that one or more words have been left out when the missing words would simply repeat the words already used earlier in the same sentence. Here is an example:

Some Norwegians wanted to base their national language on the speech of the capital city; others, on the speech of the rural countryside.

The gapping comma here shows that the words wanted to base their national language, which might have been repeated, have instead been omitted. This sentence is equivalent to a longer sentence like this:

Some Norwegians wanted to base their national language on the speech of the capital city; others wanted to base it on the speech of the rural countryside.

Here is another example, which contains both listing commas and gapping commas:

Italy is famous for her composers and musicians, France, for her chefs and philosophers, and Poland, for her mathematicians and logicians.

(Here I have inserted a listing comma before and for the sake of clarity.)

Gapping commas are not always strictly necessary: you can leave them out if the sentence is perfectly clear without them:

Italy is famous for her composers and musicians, France for her chefs and philosophers, and Poland for her mathematicians and logicians.

Use your judgement: if a sentence seems clear without gapping commas, don't use them; if you have doubts, put them in.

[University of Sussex_Informatics]

Here, the sentence

I am no king, and this woman, no queen.

is simply

I am no king, and this woman is no queen.

with the repeated verb omitted. I'd omit the comma with this example.

  • Interesting for the fact that I was 5 minutes ago just discussing Bokmål, Nynorsk, and Gamelnorsk with my wife. – Hot Licks Feb 10 '15 at 22:54
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I would not use a comma after the and and have

I am no king and this woman, no queen.

Essentially you're using the comma after "woman" to stand in for "is" and provide pause and hence emphasis.

Given that it's a poem, you have poetic license.

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