0

In the sentence below, does the phrase "deep inside" need commas wrapped around it?

Moving has allowed me to view the incredible variety that the world has to offer, and it also has made me realize that, deep inside, humans have more in common with one another than one would initially think.

versus

Moving has allowed me to view the incredible variety that the world has to offer, and it also has made me realize that deep inside, humans have more in common with one another than one would initially think.

versus

Moving has allowed me to view the incredible variety that the world has to offer, and it also has made me realize that deep inside humans have more in common with one another than one would initially think.

closed as off-topic by jimm101, Edwin Ashworth, AmE speaker, Skooba, Davo Nov 2 '17 at 20:05

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

0

That seems to me to be a standard nonrestrictive clause (meaning that it's not essential to the meaning of the sentence), and therefore needs commas around it. If you removed the commas, it would garble the syntax, because readers might expect something like

...realize that deep inside humans lies something mysterious...

If you really want to remove the commas, you could perhaps write

...realize that humans have more in common with one another deep inside than...

You also might remove just the first comma, but I'm not sure that's grammatical:

...realize that deep inside, humans have more in common...

  • Thank you so much! Yes, I agree; it does "garble the syntax" without the commas. Seeing as there is no definitive rule, os this one of those subjective comma issues? – sailor venus Nov 1 '17 at 21:31
  • Commas in the wrong places can break a sentence into illogical segments or confuse readers with unnecessary and unexpected pauses. The first comma is unnecessary and I much prefer @Rodney Atkins third example.. '...realize that deep inside, humans have more in common...'. – GoodJuJu Nov 1 '17 at 21:40
  • @sailorvenus, I believe it is subjective, but of course someone will judge you either way. :) – Rodney Atkins Nov 1 '17 at 21:44
  • @GoodJuJu, I don't really buy into the "comma = pause" school of thought, but I see what you're saying. – Rodney Atkins Nov 1 '17 at 21:44
  • 1
    In what way is 'deep inside' a clause? It's certainly a parenthetical. Offsetting punctuation is not mandatory for a parenthetical in every case, but here it would be inadvisable to leave it out because of the garden-path situation that, as you say, would result. – Edwin Ashworth Nov 2 '17 at 1:13

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.