General Writing and Grammar Help/Appositives......again

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Question
Which of the following sentences is/are correctly written and punctuated?

a) John and his girlfriend are looking to relax, but massage therapist Brandi has other plans for them.

b) John and his girlfriend are looking to relax, but massage therapist, Brandi, has other plans for them.

c) John and his girlfriend are looking to relax, but the massage therapist Brandi has other plans for them.

d) John and his girlfriend are looking to relax, but the massage therapist, Brandi, has other plans for them.

Thank you,

Paolo

Answer
Thanks, Paolo, for your follow-up.

(Note that below I've used capital letters to distinguish your selections, and I'd be grateful for your doing the same in the future. That will save me a bit of time.)

B and C are wrong. B is wrong because the appositive, Brandi, is used restrictively--not just descriptively--and accordingly the surrounding commas are inappropriate. C is wrong because the introductory the is inconsistent with the restrictive use of the appositive Brandi. C would be correct without the the.

Either A or D could be correct, depending on the intended meaning. With A, Brandi is used in a restrictive sense, and with D it's used non-restrictively (descriptively).

In practical terms it makes little difference whether A or D is used--so perhaps it would be best just to remember that if the introduces the noun to which the following appositive relates, the appositive must be surrounded by commas; and if that the is absent, there must be no such surrounding commas.

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Richard Johnson

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I can answer any question--usually the same day--on correct English grammar, usage, and (non-fiction) writing style, usually the same day, based on the American practice. All answers are explained, and I encourage follow-up.

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I'm a retired editor and a lifelong student of this subject. My library includes a great many works to which I've referred through the years. I currently rely primarily on the sixteenth edition of The Chicago Manual of Style.

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For over 30 years I edited the newsletter of my own organization, which had different names but was last known as NotBarter.com.

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BA, Brooklyn College. Advanced studies in economics and political science.

Awards and Honors
For many years a member of Mensa.

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