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#148091 - 09/21/05 04:32 PM Re: B.C.
TEd Remington Offline
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Registered: 07/17/00
Posts: 3467
Loc: Marion NC
Like the Constitution of the State of Hawaii, which begins: We, the people of the State of Hawaii. . ..

I was actually amazed to see Faldage agreeing that having a comma would be better. The archdescriptivist may actually be coming over from the dark side (at least just a tiny bit!)

I suspect that there was no debate over the need for a comma after We at the time, because those people who were so deft at sowing commas were still all in India, where the comma suturer first appeared.

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#148092 - 09/21/05 04:49 PM Re: B.C.
inselpeter Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/14/01
Posts: 2379
Loc: New York City
'Course, I may be wrong, but...

I think Faldage was being a model descriptivist and just 'splainin' the joke. (After all, why let him speak for himself?)

;-)

As a rhetorical matter, it is extremely unlikely that the omission, if there was one, was deliberate, and that the framers chose to present it as a close appositive so as to leave no doubt that "we" *are* the people . . . but possible.

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#148093 - 09/21/05 05:36 PM Re: B.C.
zmjezhd Offline
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Registered: 08/13/05
Posts: 3290
Loc: R'lyeh
Yep, it is an appositive. The verb of the subject we doesn't show up until some clauses later: do.

"We ... do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."

I thought that prescriptivists would insist that a restrictive appositive phrase would not be set off by commas; cf. the punctuation rules of restrictive relative clauses.

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#148094 - 09/21/05 06:24 PM Re: B.C.
inselpeter Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/14/01
Posts: 2379
Loc: New York City
&, BTW, mantled!


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#148095 - 09/21/05 06:26 PM Re: B.C.
tsuwm Online   confused
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 04/03/00
Posts: 10523
Loc: this too shall pass
the lack of a comma is entirely too subtle (and debatable, as we have seen); the humor of the cartoon (if there is any) stems from the audacity of the grammar police; to wit, they assume too much.

-joe (context, everything is context) f.

edit for word selection.


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#148096 - 09/21/05 07:00 PM Re: B.C.
TEd Remington Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 07/17/00
Posts: 3467
Loc: Marion NC
It's not restrictive, is it? It's actually parenthetical in nature. Here's the rule:

The important point to remember is that a nonessential appositive is always separated from the rest of the sentence with comma(s).

"I'd like you to meet my wife, Peggy."

"I'd like you to meet my brother Bob."

Wife and Peggy are separated by a comma because Peggy is not strictly necessary to the sentence because people generally only have one wife. However, I might have five brothers, so the absence of the comma signals the importance of the bond between brother and Bob.

The Gospel according to http://www.chompchomp.com/terms as well as a "host" of other sites.





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#148097 - 09/21/05 07:38 PM Re: B.C.
zmjezhd Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 08/13/05
Posts: 3290
Loc: R'lyeh
It's not restrictive, is it? It's actually parenthetical in nature.

"parenthetical appositive" 21 ghits

"restrictive appositive" 502 ghits

Isn't a nonessential appositive just another name for restrictive appositive?

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#148098 - 09/21/05 08:19 PM Re: B.C.
inselpeter Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/14/01
Posts: 2379
Loc: New York City
>>context<<

You may be right, but the same (political) commentary is implicit in the restrictive/non-restrictive interpretation, and I, for one, would never have thought the expression was eliptical -- whether intentional or not.


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#148099 - 09/21/05 09:04 PM Re: B.C.
Faldage Offline
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Registered: 12/01/00
Posts: 13803
A) they were a lot looser with commas back in them days. E.g.:

A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

2) Some folks use commas not to represent grammatical concepts but to represent pauses in speech. Thus you could say, e.g., "I'd like you to meet my wife Peggy" without implying that you have more than one wife, but merely to indicate that when you say it, there is no pause between the words "wife" and "Peggy." Both styles go back to the days when commas were first used.


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#148100 - 09/21/05 09:12 PM Re: B.C.
inselpeter Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/14/01
Posts: 2379
Loc: New York City
>>(A)<<
Yep


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