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Consider this sentence:

Your self-confidence, resilience and adaptability , all will help you integrate in this new competitive environment.

My question is about the comma before all. I tried to find a rule about using a comma after an enumeration that is "repeated" by all at the end, but I could only find rules about all as a pronoun in different structures, not in an enumeration.

I personally feel that a comma should be used before all, to reinforce it as a replacer of all that precedes. I feel this is not the same as sentences of this type, They all agree.

Particularly, I am less interested in the use of the comma, that can be opinion-based. I want to know whether all is used in this sentence as an apposition. Or is the enumeration that precedes all, Your self-confidence, resilience and adaptability, a case of apposition at the beginning of a sentence?

I only gave this sentence as an example, I would be very interested in literary or formal style, too. Basically, the structure I am after is

X, Z and Y, all + Verb + etc.

Is "X, Y and Z" an apposition? Or is "all" an apposition? I am looking for grammatical explanations of this issue (didn't find any in the CAGEL).

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    As Koffee suggests, heavier-duty punctuation (dash or ellipsis) is probably better here tyan the comma if you want to use the summative apposition. But this is a rather literary style, at odds with the domain involved. Jul 14, 2021 at 10:35
  • @EdwinAshworth In fact, I only gave this sentence as an example, I would be very interested in literary style too. Basically, the structure I am after is "X, Z and Y, all + Verb + etc." I think I will insert this in my question.
    – fev
    Jul 14, 2021 at 11:09

2 Answers 2

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There's lots of problems with this sentence, and they involve a lot more than punctuation.

  • Your self-confidence, resilience and adaptability, all will help you integrate in this new competitive environment.

First, you need a comma after resilience; this is a list of three items, not two.

Second, no comma before all; it's not in the list. What to put there depends on what you mean to say.

Third, why in the world do you want to put all in front of the verb phrase? The obvious sequence is will all, if you're floating all from the list of three to to an adverb position in the verb phrase. Floated quantifiers typically go after the first auxiliary verb, not before.

On the other hand, are you intending all to be short for all of these? If so, you need something that doesn't produce a comma intonation before all, because that makes all a noun phrase, and therefore the subject of will help, instead of a floated quantifier in an adverb niche.

  • Your self-confidence, resilience, and adaptability -- all (of these) will help you integrate in this new competitive environment.
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  • @ JohnLawler Yes, I actually want it to mean all of these as a subject of "will help". I want to know in this case if "all (of these)" can be said to have as an apposition the enumeration that precedes it. Thank you for providing me with the term float quantifier, I know this is not what I am looking for. I want to use "all" as a pronoun, replacing or repeating the elements that precede it
    – fev
    Jul 14, 2021 at 14:06
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    What you call "X, Z, and Y, all + Verb +" is not a constituent and therefore does not have a structure. You can't just string out words however you want. Jul 14, 2021 at 14:18
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    Please bear in mind that I am completely new to English grammar concepts and terminology, which is completely different from my mother tongue (much more fixed and takes each word in itself rather than looking at phrases and constituents). I probably expressed my understanding from this point of view, and probably that fell heavy on your refined grammarian ears. Sorry for that and thank you for your patience.
    – fev
    Jul 14, 2021 at 17:16
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    My grammarian ears have heard it all, don't worry. I'd just advise you not to try to state rules until you know how to describe what you're talking about. Jul 14, 2021 at 17:29
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    Ok, point taken. That is, if I am aware that I don't know what I am talking about :)... But I will try my best.
    – fev
    Jul 14, 2021 at 17:33
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Essentially you are attaching an argument to a list.

The goal of this is to apply an argument to a list of values

obj = the object with the list of values
list = set of values
a = hyper value (nul value returns a blank)
join = your joining word i.e. "all"
arg = your argument of the values (what they mean etc.)

a is optional, it acts merely acts as an addition which helps focus the next segment

This is why '-' would work in replacement of ',' or just nothing entirely.

This acts more like a caesura, to draw attention to the next word.

obj.[list].a.join.[arg]

So while in the first instance, the [arg] is emphasised

i.e. help you integrate in this new competitive environment.

Consequently you should also be able to write it in this format

[arg].join.a.obj.[list]

While in this instance, the obj.[list] is emphasised

i.e. Your self-confidence, resilience and adaptability

One more example:

join.a.obj.[list].[arg]

the [arg].obj.[list] are emphasised

i.e. Your self-confidence, resilience and adaptability help you integrate in this new competitive environment.

With those examples lets evaluate the .join

Say that there is string inputs on either side

'str' +.join'...'+'str'

Well the aposition is the 3rd section of the sentence (this is an exception)

'str' + '...'.join +'str'

Well the aposition is just before the 'all'

We can see that moving the .join emphasises the items that are after that.

tldr

The main exception is the 'All' at the beginning of the sentence. A better explaination is that 'all' acts as an amplifier to the following phrases.

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  • Pardon? Note that << Your self-confidence, resilience[,] and adaptability will all help you integrate in this new competitive environment. >> might profitably be contrasted with << Your self-confidence, resilience and adaptability .../– all [these qualities] will help you integrate in this new competitive environment. >> Note also that hyphens are not interchangeable with dashes: - ≠ –. Jul 14, 2021 at 10:33
  • @Koffee I think I kind of understood something from your answer. However, note that my main question is about whether "all" or the preceding enumeration can be said to be appositives.
    – fev
    Jul 14, 2021 at 10:40
  • Thank you for your comment. I forgot to include strings for either side, which then allows for .join to be used anywhere. I assume the dashes are interpreted as hyphens, exchange does not have an auto-dash corrector and I do not know the shortcut on the keyboard.
    – Koffee
    Jul 14, 2021 at 10:41
  • from what I can see, 'all' merely emphasises the rest of the sentence behind it. You can see it does not change the meaning of the sentence, but rather highlights the existence of the meaning behind the word itself.
    – Koffee
    Jul 14, 2021 at 10:46
  • @Koffee Good point. So you are saying, both elements are simply emphasising each other, therefore, there is no apposition? By the way, you need to use @ with name of the user for them to receive your new comment in their inbox.
    – fev
    Jul 14, 2021 at 11:05

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