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Are commas needed? Options
Koh Elaine
Posted: Saturday, July 14, 2018 2:59:48 AM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 7/4/2012
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I've just bought a book, "Practical English Usage", by Michael Swan.

Would it be wrong to remove the commas?

Thanks.
thar
Posted: Saturday, July 14, 2018 7:36:10 AM

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Joined: 7/8/2010
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It is better without commas.

Commas make it extra information.

I have just bought a book by Michael Swan.

I have just bought a book, 'Practical English Usage', by Michael Swan.


Probably more useful information is the name of the book as well as the author:

I have just bought the book 'Practical English Usage' by Michael Swan.


edit
But I bow to the wisdom of the professionals I they disagree.



Quote:
Types of apposition
In writing, we often separate the noun phrases by commas. We do this when the second noun phrase gives extra information which is not necessary to identify the person or thing:

Edinburgh, Scotland’s capital city, has a population of around 450,000. (Scotland’s capital city is extra information which is not necessary to identify Edinburgh.)

Sometimes the second noun phrase contains information which specifies which person or thing we are referring to from a number of possible people or things. In these cases, we don’t use a comma.
Audiendus
Posted: Saturday, July 14, 2018 7:39:58 AM
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Joined: 8/24/2011
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Koh Elaine wrote:
I've just bought a book, "Practical English Usage", by Michael Swan.

The first comma is necessary; the second is optional.

If you remove the second comma, you give equal importance to the title of the book and its author. If you keep the second comma, the author becomes the most important thing ("a book by Michael Swan"), and the title is parenthetical (it is just extra information).

Since the title is (presumably) important, I would remove the second comma.
Audiendus
Posted: Saturday, July 14, 2018 7:47:21 AM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 8/24/2011
Posts: 4,999
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Location: London, England, United Kingdom
thar wrote:
I have just bought the book 'Practical English Usage' by Michael Swan.

Yes, you can remove both commas if you change "a" to "the". In fact, you have to remove the first comma in that case (unless you have referred to the book earlier).
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