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General Writing and Grammar Help/RE: My close friend, John Lee,.....

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Question
Dear Ted:

I'm following up because I'm having problems with appositives.

Consider the sentence of my last message:

"If you can take two minutes out of your day to view this video and spread the word about my close friend, John Lee, it would be greatly appreciated."

My question is this:

If I leave out "John Lee," does the sentence still make sense?
Isn't the use of "John Case" extra information, not essential to understanding the meaning of the above sentence just because is set off by commas? I'm confused.

As always, many, many thanks for your valuable help.

Paolo

P.S. Is the question "Isn't the use of 'John Case' extra information, not essential to understanding the meaning of the above sentence just because is set off by commas?" correctly written? If not, would you please rephrase it for me? Thanks again for your kind help.

Answer
Dear Paolo:

Consider the sentence of my last message:

"If you can take two minutes out of your day to view this video and spread the
word about my close friend, John Lee, it would be greatly appreciated."

My question is this:

If I leave out "John Lee," does the sentence still make sense?

*** YES

*** The sentence will still make sense.  However, people will assume that you have more than one "close friend" and they will not know WHICH friend you mean.  I suggested that you write "my CLOSEST friend," which means you are referring to just one person.  We may have ten "close friends," but we can have just ONE "closest friend."

Isn't the use of "John Case" extra information, not essential to understanding
the meaning of the above sentence just because is set off by commas? I'm
confused.

*** You are calling him "john Lee" and "John Case."  And, you are correct.  His name is not essential and it can be placed within commas.

When I sent my first response, I was fixated on the difference between "close" and "closest."
I apologize for missing the point you were making.

If you use "closest friend," you do not need to set his name off with commas, because he is your ONLY CLOSEST FRIEND.

If you use "close friend," you should use the commas.  Naming him is essential, because some people who know your other "close friends" may be confused.


*** YES.  



As always, many, many thanks for your valuable help.

Paolo

P.S. Is the question "Isn't the use of 'John Case' extra information, not
essential to understanding the meaning of the above sentence just because is set
off by commas?" correctly written? If not, would you please rephrase it for me?

*** You need write "just because IT is set off . . . ."  The sentence is correct once you insert the missing word.

Thanks again for your kind help.

*** If my answer is still confusing, let's start anew with a different example, and I'll try to be clearer.  Stay away from using words that are comparative [like "close"] and superlative [like closest"].  It should be easier without such words.  

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Ted Nesbitt

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I am the bibliographic instruction and reference librarian at a public college. Some members of the English department recommend me to their students. I offer assistance in grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, and paragraph development. My master`s thesis concerns William Faulkner`s tragic novels. I formerly taught advanced placement English at two schools in the Philadelphia area.

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I have been one of the highest-ranked volunteers in this category for more than a decade.

Education/Credentials
B. A. and M. A in English; MSIS in Library & Information Sciences; graduate study in philosophy

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