I'm not sure what to call this sort of prepositional phrase, but this sort seems to interrupt the thought to add clarification. I almost want to call it an interjectional prepositional phrase.

Some examples:

  • Are we not in principle taking a risk?
  • Are we not, in principle, taking a risk?
  • You in full knowledge allow discrimination to go unquestioned.
  • You, in full knowledge, allow discrimination to go unquestioned.

So is it permissible and/or preferable to use commas in this situation?

1 Answer 1


My take is that this is a nonrestrictive clause. If used as a nonrestrictive clause, the commas would be necessary in both of your examples.

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