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In the song "Warriors of the World United," how should one punctuate the following sentence?

Brothers everywhere, raise your hands into the air!

or

Brothers, everywhere raise your hands into the air!

or some other punctuation.

Another example of this type:

People everywhere unite (in or for whatever they are being asked to do)!

So what is the correct punctuation in such cases?

  • It really depends on whether your imperative is addressed to [you] brothers or [you] brothers [who are] everywhere (i.e. all brothers, wherever you are), and whether you're specifically exhorting them to raise their hands everywhere, or just in certain situations (such as when being exhorted to do so). – FumbleFingers Jul 28 '15 at 13:46
  • @Dan Why did you italicize the name of the song? I thought quotation marks were more than sufficient. – Siegfried Zaytsev Jul 28 '15 at 13:46
  • @SiegfriedZaytsev To make it stand out better. It's a matter of personal style. Feel free to remove the italics if you like. But please make sure to use blockquotes and not preformatted text to quote things. – Dan Bron Jul 28 '15 at 13:47
  • @Dan Ok. I'm new here. Haven't learned all the formatting tricks yet. – Siegfried Zaytsev Jul 28 '15 at 13:49
  • @Dan "Pretty quickly I discovered I enjoy participating on EL&U much more than I had originally on SO." – What is "SO"? – Siegfried Zaytsev Jul 28 '15 at 13:52
2

Brothers everywhere, raise your hands into the air! (correct)

Brothers, everywhere raise your hands into the air! (incorrect)

This would mean,

Brothers, raise your hands into the air everywhere! Nobody can raise their hands everywhere. We are restricted to raising them where we are at the time.


People everywhere unite. (correct)

People everywhere, unite. (correct)

People, everywhere unite. (incorrect) It is impossible to unite everywhere. You can only unite in one (metaphorical) place.

  • Ok, but is there some rule regarding an adverb of place (or adverb in general) being part of direct address? – Siegfried Zaytsev Jul 28 '15 at 13:58
  • @Siegfried: I assume by "direct address" you mean imperative constructions. There's no specific rule for imperatives, so it's just the same as with We saw people uniting everywhere and We saw people everywhere uniting (where in both cases the "adverb" could feasibly apply to either saw or people). Contrast with We saw people uniting enthusiastically and We saw people enthusiastically uniting, where it's unlikely the speaker means We enthusiastically saw [whatever]. – FumbleFingers Jul 28 '15 at 14:22
  • @Fumble By "direct address" I mean "the use of the vocative case." It doesn't have to be in the imperative mood. One can say "Brothers everywhere, I see that you suffer greatly." Or "Brothers everywhere, will you answer my call?" But this is a tricky point because now I have an adverb as part of direct address. And while there may be no rules for the imperative mood, there are punctuation rules for direct address. – Siegfried Zaytsev Jul 28 '15 at 14:50
  • @Siegfried: I don't see what you find "tricky" here, or why you think the syntax / punctuation might be specifically affected by whether it involves a vocative case / direct address / imperative construction. Where the referent of an adverb/adjective is potentially ambiguous (are you talking to brothers who are everywhere, or telling them what you see everywhere?) you may be able to disambiguate using punctuation, is all. Putting the comma before everywhere makes it apply to what follows; putting it after makes it apply to what came before. – FumbleFingers Jul 28 '15 at 15:19
  • While I agree that this answer answers the question well, I don't believe that the alternate constructions are necessarily "impossible" or meaningless, they're just less common and less probable. "Brothers, everywhere raise your hands!" could conceivably be meant as an exhortation for the people to take positive action in all parts of their lives, not just in restricted contexts such as "at work" or "at home" or "at the club". – Doug Warren Jul 28 '15 at 18:04

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