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When setting off a person's age, one uses comma before and after:

John, 18, lives in France.

Is it proper to do the same when "John" is possessive? For example: John's, 18, labrador is white.

Regards, John

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  • Not really! It could be quite confusing. I, for one, wouldn't be clear if John had dozens of labradors and number 18 was white, or whether it was John or the dog who was 18. For clarity's sake rearrangement is necessary: Eighteen-year-old John's labrador is white or John, 18, has a white labrador (different emphasis), or The labrador of John,18, is white. – WS2 Aug 31 '16 at 13:21
  • Thank you for answering! So as I see it, it is more a matter of being clear, rather than it being grammatically incorrect. Or is it grammatically incorrect? – Johnny Sep 1 '16 at 13:12
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You should not do this when the noun takes a possessive form.

Instead, avoid the use of the possessive form and rewrite the sentence to show possession in another way, like this:

John, 18, has a white labrador.

The problem with trying to mix together a statement of John's age and the statement that he has a white labrador is that it becomes difficult for the reader to tell if John or the labrador is 18. It's better to separate the age statement into its own sentence, as it is a separate thought, or to simply avoid the use of the possessive noun form.

  • Thank you for answering! So as I see it, it is more a matter of being clear, rather than it being grammatically incorrect. Or is it grammatically incorrect? – Johnny Sep 1 '16 at 13:17
  • It is not grammatically correct to use the possessive form in the way you describe in your question. – R Mac Sep 1 '16 at 13:20
  • Source? ☺ Although I believe you. – Johnny Sep 1 '16 at 19:20

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