If you type in Google define anaphora, it gives the following definition (original punctuation and style kept):

the use of a word referring to or replacing a word used earlier in a sentence, to avoid repetition, such as do in I like it and so do they.

  1. Why is there a comma after the word sentence?

  2. Is it correct to italicize "I like it and so do they" in that sentence? Or should it be enclosed in quotation marks? (Perhaps both are correct.)

PS Please do not presume that Google Dictionary is infallible. I've observed plenty of mistakes it has.

  • 1
    Both italics and quotation marks are acceptable ways to communicate that you are speaking meta-linguistically, that is, mentioning the words 'I like it and so do that' rather than using them.
    – DyingIsFun
    Oct 9, 2015 at 17:30
  • @Silenus How do you italicize in comments? Oct 9, 2015 at 17:46
  • prefix and suffix the string with an asterisk.
    – DyingIsFun
    Oct 9, 2015 at 17:47
  • @Silenus Then would both of the following sentences be considered correct (punctuation-wise)? 1. If you type in Google define anaphora, it gives... 2. If you type in Google "define anaphora," it gives... Oct 9, 2015 at 17:53
  • I think both are fine. Different style guides will suggest different conventions regarding metalinguistic language (with some even recommending different conventions for speaking about, for example, the language one's writing in versus a foreign language). The key is to be consistent with whatever convention you choose.
    – DyingIsFun
    Oct 9, 2015 at 17:57

1 Answer 1


1) Perfectly normal use of commas; to show a short pause, or that the stuff between the commas can be excluded without breaking the sentence.

2) Using either italics or quotes is fine, to talk about a snippet of the language meta-linguistically, or, in other words, mentioning the words in the formatting instead of actually using them.

  • 1
    Regarding #1, the example you give has three synonyms to define a word. You could use any one of them to explain what "despite" means. However, "the use of a word referring to or replacing a word used earlier in a sentence" and "to avoid repetition, such as 'do' in 'I like it and so do they'" are parts of one continuing definition that you cannot interrupt semantically. Oct 9, 2015 at 17:41
  • 1
    The commas in your example definition are used to demarcate synonyms. This is not what's going on in the OP's example.
    – DyingIsFun
    Oct 9, 2015 at 17:42
  • @Silenus I agree. Oct 9, 2015 at 17:43
  • Brain fart. Blanking until I can come up with something else. Oct 9, 2015 at 17:58
  • @Nihilist_Frost No worries. Oct 9, 2015 at 17:59

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