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Commas, Part 4

Rule – Use commas to set off the name or title of a person directly addressed.
Examples:
Will you, Aisha, do that assignment for me?
Yes, Doctor, I will. NOTE: Capitalize a title when directly addressing someone.
Joshua, please remember to buy lettuce.
Please remember to buy lettuce, Joshua.

Rule – Use commas to surround degrees or titles used with names. Commas are no longer required around Jr. and Sr. Commas never set off II, III, and so forth.
Example:
Al Mooney, MD, knew Sam Sunny Jr. and Charles Starr III.

Pop Quiz
1A. The defendant has accused you Mr. Dempsey of trying to steal his credit card.
1B. The defendant has accused you, Mr. Dempsey of trying to steal his credit card.
1C. The defendant has accused you, Mr. Dempsey, of trying to steal his credit card.

2A. The injury to Robert Griffin III does not appear to be serious.
2B. The injury to Robert Griffin, III does not appear to be serious.
2C. The injury to Robert Griffin, III, does not appear to be serious.

3A. I am sorry professor that my paper is late.
3B. I am sorry, Professor, that my paper is late.
3C. I am sorry, professor, that my paper is late.

4A. Grover Washington Jr. has an appointment today with Orin Scrivello DDS.
4B. Grover Washington, Jr. has an appointment today with Orin Scrivello, DDS.
4C. Grover Washington, Jr., has an appointment today with Orin Scrivello, DDS.
4D. Grover Washington Jr. has an appointment today with Orin Scrivello, DDS.

Pop Quiz Answers
1C. The defendant has accused you, Mr. Dempsey, of trying to steal his credit card.
2A. The injury to Robert Griffin III does not appear to be serious.
3B. I am sorry, Professor, that my paper is late.
4D. Grover Washington Jr. has an appointment today with Orin Scrivello, DDS.
NOTE: Answer “4C. Grover Washington, Jr., has an appointment today with Orin Scrivello, DDS,” also is acceptable but the commas surrounding Jr. are no longer required.

Posted on Tuesday, December 11, 2012, at 3:25 pm


4 Comments on Commas, Part 4

4 Responses to “Commas, Part 4”

  1. Ed C. says:

    In a list of names, what about the comma after a name, and before “Jr.” in the middle of the list? Does that require using semi-colons after items all the way through?

    • Jane says:

      According to Rule 7 of Commas: “Commas are no longer required around Jr. and Sr.
      Therefore, if there are no commas between names and Jr. or any other titles, then you do not need to separate the names with semicolons.

      For example:
      The attendees included John Doe, Jane Doe, Sam Sunny Jr., and Dolores Chang.
      The attendees included John Doe, M.D.; Jane Doe; Sam Sunny Jr.; and Dolores Chang.

  2. Rebekah says:

    Good afternoon,
    Thank you for all the info on your website! I have a question about punctuation in incomplete sentences, e.g., in photo captions. I was told that in a caption like this one (I’m making one up):

    Three athletes are walking to a nearby stadium. Moscow, Russia, 1965

    the latter part of the caption only has commas but not a period at the end because incomplete sentences don’t need a period. Is that correct?
    Any advice will be greatly appreciated.
    Thanks so much,
    Rebekah

    • Your caption could be a complete sentence (Three athletes are walking to a nearby stadium in Moscow, Russia, 1965.), but even as is, we advise a period at the end. The rule you speak of does not exist.

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