comma

This is the place to post questions and discussions on usage and style. The members of the Wordwizard Clubhouse will also often be able to help you to formulate that difficult letter.
Post Reply

comma

Post by navi » Tue Feb 16, 2021 11:41 am

1) All those who were rational and not fanatical began to have doubts about their ideas.
2) All those who were rational, and not fanatical, began to have doubts about their ideas.

In which case the rational ones and the fanatics form two mutually exclusive groups? That would be the meaning one would be going for, I guess, so the question is which one should be used?

Gratefully,
Navi
ACCESS_POST_ACTIONS

Re: comma

Post by Erik_Kowal » Tue Feb 16, 2021 8:21 pm

Use neither.

Both your version includes a misplaced "and" which implies that it is possible to conceive of a rational individual who is also fanatical. I suppose that is a proposition one could debate both ways, but in any case, in this context it merely serves to confuse the reader.

The alternative possibilities I envisage, some of which consist merely of punctuational variations, are the following:

All those who were rational, not fanatical, began to have doubts about their ideas.

All those who were rational — not fanatical — began to have doubts about their ideas.

All those who were rational (not fanatical) began to have doubts about their ideas.

All those who were rational {as opposed to / rather than / insteead of } [being] fanatical began to have doubts about their ideas.
ACCESS_POST_ACTIONS

ACCESS_END_OF_TOPIC
Post Reply