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he had sex with his sister Julie

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by BurgersForBreakfast, Jul 21, 2011.

  1. BurgersForBreakfast

    BurgersForBreakfast New Member

    now that i have your attention, which is correct? what's the rule?

    "He had sex with his sister Julie before running for public office."


    "He had sex with his sister, Julie, before running for public office."

    I think it might depend on how many siblings in the picture. Let's assume one. Or substitute "mom Julie" in above sentences.

    When are names set off by commas?

    Thanks in advance for your help.
  2. Steak Snabler

    Steak Snabler Well-Known Member

    Offset by commas if there's only one, because you're telling that person's name only for informational purposes. No commas means you're distinguishing between multiple sisters, mothers, etc., by name.
  3. BurgersForBreakfast

    BurgersForBreakfast New Member

    for the record, this post received 90 views in 29 minutes, and steak snabler not only has a cool moniker but perhaps the coolest gif ever
  4. nck228

    nck228 Member

    Has to do with whether or not what you're saying in between the commas is important to the sentence. If, hypothetically, Jim had three siblings, then you need to clarify which one he had sex with. In that case, you don't put commas around the name, since you're "limiting" who it is he had sex with by naming the person.

    But let's go back to your initial assumption that there's only one sibling. In this case, by using her name, you're not clarifying anything per se--you're just providing additional information. So you would use commas in this instance.

    Think of it like this:

    Joey is very popular. He has a lot of friends. In particular, Joey's friend Bill is a psychopathic moron.
    Joey is not popular. He only has one friend. This friend, Bill, is a psychopathic moron.
  5. jlee

    jlee Well-Known Member


    You could have read the back of the AP stylebook in the time it took you to think of this, though.
  6. TheSportsPredictor

    TheSportsPredictor Well-Known Member

  7. Starman

    Starman Well-Known Member

    No pic of Julie?
  8. Double J

    Double J Active Member

    Ask, and ye shall receive.

    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 15, 2014
  9. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    If Julie isn't offset by commas, you leave the reader wondering why the other sisters didn't rate a tumble.
  10. SF_Express

    SF_Express Active Member

    I think I have this pretty much down now -- essential vs. non-essential clauses -- but for the longest time (and this might just be for me), I remembered this rule pretty much because it seemed to be exactly the opposite of what I'd think it should be. Now, though, it makes sense to me.
  11. Mystery Meat II

    Mystery Meat II Well-Known Member

    If Julie is offset, it appears as if you're talking to Julie instead of identifying her as the incestuous sexpot.
  12. imjustagirl

    imjustagirl Active Member

    Dibs on "Incestuous Sexpots" as my band name.
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