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Question
Dear Ted:

Consider the following sentence:

Simmons left ESPN over frustrations with management about investment and support for Grantland, as well as disagreements about what he could, or should say about the NFL and its commissioner Roger Goodell.

My question is this:

Don't you think there should be a comma after "commissioner" and before "Roger Goodell" or is the comma not needed  since there is only one NFL commissioner?

Thank you,

Paolo

Answer
Dear Paolo:

  
Consider the following sentence:

Simmons left ESPN over frustrations with management about investment and support for Grantland, as well as disagreements about what he could, or should say about the NFL and its commissioner Roger Goodell.

My question is this:

Don't you think there should be a comma after "commissioner" and before "Roger Goodell" or is the comma not needed  since there is only one NFL commissioner?

*** This example is difficult to explain.  For instance, how many people know the name of the NFL commissioner?  If you ended the sentence with the word "commissioner," would the sentence be clear?  OR, must the sentence contain the man's name in order to make sense?

My personal opinion -- and I readily recognize that others may have a different point of view -- is that the name is NOT essential.  Therefore, the comma SHOULD be used.

Here's a short guide for punctuating appositives:

https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/596/1/

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

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