comma question

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 question

Post by navi » Mon Jan 01, 2018 12:40 pm

1) I saw Joan and other interesting women.
2) I saw Joan and other, interesting women.

In which case do you know that Joan is definitely interesting?
In which case do you know that Joan is definitely not interesting?

Gratefully, and wishing everybody a Happy New Year,
Navi.
Post actions:

Re: comma question

Post by Bobinwales » Mon Jan 01, 2018 5:45 pm

In my opinion the second one doesn't make sense.
Post actions:
Signature: All those years gone to waist!
Bob in Wales

Re: comma question

Post by Erik_Kowal » Mon Jan 01, 2018 7:09 pm

I disagree with Bob that 2) makes no sense. I read its meaning as follows:

- I saw Joan.
- I also saw other women. These (in contrast to Joan) I found interesting.

The comma between 'other' and 'interesting' in 2) marks them off from each other, making them separate and distinct descriptors. This separateness also serves to contrast the interesting quality of these women with the implied boringness of Joan. (In speech, you would insert a noticeable pause here and give extra emphasis to the word 'interesting'.)
Post actions:

Re: comma question

Post by tony h » Mon Jan 01, 2018 7:59 pm

I was tempted to agree with Bob on the basis that a "what" was needed to complete "Joan and other what" .

But a few more thoughts, in this more liberal world we must inhabit, led me to : "Joan and partner", "Joan plus one". Then "Joan and other" became a homosexual couple.

In this scenario one might imagine that the speaker was suggesting that both Joan and her female partner were both interesting people. And to a more reserved speaker the "interesting couple" may be arched such that it was the mere coupling of the two females that was the interesting part.
Post actions:
Signature: tony

With the right context almost anything can sound appropriate.

Re: comma question

Post by Phil White » Tue Jan 02, 2018 6:47 pm

Tony's reading is interesting. Your mind works in strange ways, Tony. But the reading is valid.

Erik is right, but I would personally tend to fully offset the "interesting" with a comma each side to force that reading. I suspect I am on my own with that one, though. I use commas very generously!
Post actions:
Signature: Phil White
Non sum felix lepus

End of topic.
Post Reply