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Consider the following.

He participated in one of the most challenging swimming competitions SwimFest-X in countryname-Y, which facilitated his success in Z.

or should there be a comma before SwimFest-X?

He participated in one of the most challenging swimming competitions, SwimFest-X in countryname-Y, which facilitated his success in Z.

Why or why not?

  • OT; change "the one of most" to "one of the most". – Thruston Dec 26 '18 at 23:37
  • what is "which" supposed to refer to in your sentences? Swimfest? His participation? – Thruston Dec 26 '18 at 23:43
  • @Thruston fixed the type about "the one of most" in the OP. Should be "one of the most". "which" is supposed to refer to SwimFest-X and it occurred in countryname-Y. – Joe Black Dec 27 '18 at 0:52
  • Note that in US English, it's common to use a comma before which; otherwise we use that. In UK English, I don't think there is that distinction. So, people from different regions might answer this differently. (However, comma or not, using that in this sentence wouldn't work unless it were rephrased.) A comma before which always sounds better to me. – Jason Bassford Dec 27 '18 at 2:10
  • @JasonBassford comma before "which" isn't the issue, if there should be one before "swimfest-X" is. – Joe Black Dec 27 '18 at 5:20
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Both versions are intelligible; however, it is the second one that makes more sense for the information in this sentence.

He participated in one of the most challenging swimming competitions SwimFest-X in
countryname-Y, which facilitated his success in Z.

In this first version, the comma is used to separate an independent clause from a dependent clause. The independent clause is, "He participated in one of the most challenging swimming competitions SwimFest-X in countryname-Y." This clause is independent because it has its own subject ("he") and verb ("participated"), and is a complete thought. Therefore, it can stand alone as a sentence. The dependent clause is, "which facilitated his success in Z." While this clause does contain its own subject and verb -- with "which" acting as the subject (and pronoun) and "facilitated" being the verb -- it does not form a complete thought. The word "which" refers to the the swimming competitions mentioned in the previous clause, but you cannot tell what "which" means by the dependent clause alone. It is in this way that the clause does not form a complete thought, thus rendering it dependent.

He participated in one of the most challenging swimming competitions, SwimFest-X in countryname-Y, which facilitated his success in Z.

The second version you have included is more like a main sentence with a dependent clause sandwiched in the middle. The main sentence is, "He participated in one of the most challenging swimming competitions which facilitated his success in Z." The dependent clause in the middle is, "SwimFest-X in countryname-Y." To have this information sectioned off with commas, as you do in this example, means that you can completely remove the phrase from the sentence and it still make sense. (This happens where I typed the main sentence previously.) Separating the information with commas is similar to separating it with parentheses or dashes. Generally, you can pull this information out without decreasing coherency, since it is used to elaborate on the main information of the sentence.

For your specific case, since "SwimFest-X in countryname-Y" is elaborating the object of the sentence ("swimming competitions"), the second version makes more sense; elaborating information can be set apart with punctuation to show that it is an additional descriptor, unnecessary for understanding the whole sentence.

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    I think I understand the reason for comma before "which", but whether there "should" be a comma before SwimFest-X I think depends on what intends to be communicated, i.e. if "swimfestX in country-Y" is a restrictive clause for "one of the most challenging swimming competitions" or not-restrictive. I think it's restrictive because "one of the most challenging swim competitions" alone doesn't tell you if it's swimfest-X or not, it could be any of several. If restrictive, there can't/shouldn't be comma before SwimFest-X. – Joe Black Dec 27 '18 at 5:18
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'SwimFest-X' is apposite to, and specifies, 'one of the most challenging swimming competitions'. Their juncture calls for a colon.

'... one of the most challenging swimming competitions: SwimFest-X ...'

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Q: He participated in one of the most challenging swimming competitions, SwimFest-X in countryname-Y, which facilitated his success in Z.

A: He participated in one of the most challenging swimming competitions. SwimFest-X was held at __________ . This facilitated his success in Z.

(alt)

He participated in SwimFest-X, which facilitated his success in Z. SwimFest-X is one of the most challenging swimming competitions and was held in countryname-Y.

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