I tried to figure out if this is correct. I just don´t know if I should use commas before and after "rather than one", a parenthesis, or no comma at all.

I think that "rather than one" is non-essential information and it is not part of the object "three consecutive adjectives alike". Am I in the clear?

Since the writers used three consecutive adjectives alike, rather than one, and highlighted the noun “MURDER”, a negative attitude towards non-standard behavior is communicated to the reader.

  • What does 'three consecutive adjectives alike' mean? – Edwin Ashworth Mar 2 '18 at 0:21

What you are referring to is a clause. In this case, your clause is qualifying that preceding part of the sentence, but not in an absolutely necessary fashion. Your use of commas is correct.

Let's consult the Purdue Online Writing Lab:

  1. Use a pair of commas in the middle of a sentence to set off clauses, phrases, and words that are not essential to the meaning of the sentence. Use one comma before to indicate the beginning of the pause and one at the end to indicate the end of the pause.

Compare what you wrote to the quotation used by the Purdue OWL:

Clause: That Tuesday, which happens to be my birthday, is the only day when I am available to meet.

The structure of your sentence does, in fact, set off that qualifying clause "rather than one" in the same way "which happens to be my birthday" does in my quoted example.

  • Thanks! I was not sure if I did it the right way... – Marcin Nowak Mar 1 '18 at 19:37
  • 'Rather than one' is not a clause. – Edwin Ashworth Mar 2 '18 at 0:20
  • But it is not essential, isn´t it? – Marcin Nowak Mar 2 '18 at 0:23
  • @MarcinNowak It might be, e.g. if the author was focusing on the contrast between 3 and 1. Consider: the problem was that he used three instead of two. – Lawrence Mar 2 '18 at 2:07
  • I think I know what you are talking about but it is hard for me to see the difference here. So, you think that "instead" ties the phrase more closely to "three" without the commas. Well, of course, but what is so essential about the phrase...? – Marcin Nowak Mar 2 '18 at 8:04

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