General Writing and Grammar Help/Set off - set apart

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Question
Dear Ted:

Are the following sentences grammatically written?

1) Set OFF a nonessential phrase from the rest of a sentence BY commas.

2) Set OFF a nonessential phrase from the rest of a sentence WITH commas.

3) Set APART a nonessential phrase from the rest of a sentence BY commas.

4) Set APART a nonessential phrase from the rest of a sentence WITH commas.

If all four are possible, do they mean the same thing?

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

Paolo

Answer
Dear Paolo:

Are the following sentences grammatically written?

1) Set OFF a nonessential phrase from the rest of a sentence BY commas.

2) Set OFF a nonessential phrase from the rest of a sentence WITH commas.

3) Set APART a nonessential phrase from the rest of a sentence BY commas.

4) Set APART a nonessential phrase from the rest of a sentence WITH commas.

If all four are possible, do they mean the same thing?

*** They are all correct, and they have the same meaning.  I prefer WITH, but that's just my choice -- my habit, I guess.  BY works just as well.

Ted

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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.

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

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