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I'm writing an essay, and I need a bit of help with my comma placement. There is a series of short sentences that go like this:

He seems angry, to some. He seems insane, to most. He seems resolute, to himself.

Should those commas be there? Generally, I put commas where I myself would pause while speaking unless I'm sure one shouldn't go there. However, here I'm not sure at all. What say you all?

  • I think it could work well, especially since you are tripling. – marcellothearcane Jun 30 '17 at 13:34
  • @marcellothearcane I don't agree with 'no commas is better [when] written down'. Commas are here to serve. Their most important usage is to distinguish between ambiguous alternative readings (Let's eat, Phil). Then to facilitate rather than inform parsing. But the use of a comma just to signal a pause (some would say that in the first instance the comma signals a change in intonation) where there aren't more pressing requirements is considered acceptable by many writers: this has been covered here before. I prefer the pauses and the cueings here. – Edwin Ashworth Jun 30 '17 at 16:11
  • @EdwinAshworth there doesn't appear to be any cannibalistic misinterpretations of the OP's sentence... Nevertheless, maybe it's a personal preference? – marcellothearcane Jun 30 '17 at 16:14
  • I make it plain that it's only the cueings for the pauses that is relevant here. Use or not of the commas in OP's example is not a matter of correctness, but of spelling out how the writer wants the passage to be read (or of how they have heard it said). Replacing the full stops with exclamation marks is a similar device. – Edwin Ashworth Jun 30 '17 at 16:22

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