I advise a friend on her writing, despite not quite knowing an adverb from a proverb (kidding (kinda)).

Invariably, parenthetical commas such as the following:

Jane, my assistant, opened the door.

are written as:

Jane, my assistant opened the door.

Is there some foreign grammar she is drawing from, where this is common? Australian English or British English perhaps?

  • Just as a side note, this is called an appositive, or an apposition Jun 18, 2012 at 16:47
  • @AndyPerfect, thanks! It isn't the root of the problem (two commas, or none, but not one), but explains when it might be correct to use no commas :english.stackexchange.com/q/28965/6297 Jun 18, 2012 at 17:01
  • 1
    It's not something that's common in British English.
    – DavidR
    Jun 19, 2012 at 9:33

1 Answer 1


From Larry Trask's 'Guide to Punctuation':

The rule is this: a pair of bracketing commas is used to mark off a weak interruption of the sentence — that is, an interruption which does not disturb the smooth flow of the sentence.

That's what's required here: a pair of commas, not just one. This is not a matter of grammar, but of typographic convention.

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