I read the following sentence today, in a newspaper,

Recently while promoting his upcoming release Secret Superstar in Vadodara, Aamir Khan opened up about his dream project, Mahabharata.

My question is that whether we should place a comma before 'Mahabharat,' or not?


In the abovementioned link of a Grammarly post, the sub-section Comma with appositives states this rule that when the appositive is an essential one, then it shouldn't be separated with a comma.

In the above sentence, Mahabharat is the name of the dream project which Aamir opens up about. And hence, it seems to be an essential appositive.

Following the same track, this is a sentence from a Wikipedia's Good Article:

Having made his directorial debut with Following (1998), Nolan gained considerable attention for his second feature, Memento (2000).

Should a comma be placed before the name of the film Memento?

  • It stands to reason that Nolan could have directed only one "second feature", so "Memento (2000)" is a supplementary (non-restrictive) appositive here and thus no comma is required. Compare the integrated (restrictive) appositive "... for his feature "Memento (2000), with no comma, where "Memento (2000) is required to identify which "feature" is being referred to.
    – BillJ
    Apr 2 '18 at 13:25
  • I deduced the same thing and hence, removed the comma. Just wanted to confirm it. Any comments about the previous sentence. Apr 2 '18 at 13:31
  • Punctuation conventions strive to reflect the syntactic and clausal structures of speech, especially in situations where not to demarcate those structures could make things less clear for the reader. In speech there's a syntactic micro-pause around mid-sentence appositives (and before one that ends the sentence). With appositives, unless there's some other typographic or orthographic convention in effect (e.g. italicized titles) the phrase might be a little difficult to read without commas. It does no harm to use them. Apr 2 '18 at 13:31
  • I agree with your point that if there is no italicization of the appositive, using a comma would prevent any confusion; but at certain times, a rule of thumb is needed for how to use these punctuation marks. So, I wanted to consider it that using a comma in such cases is correct or not? Apr 2 '18 at 13:37
  • The (optional, parenthetical) phrase while promoting his upcoming release Secret Superstar in Vadodara must be set off in commas. So you need one after recently (which itself has been "stylistically" relocated from its "natural" position in the underlying base form Aamir Khan recently opened up about his dream project). As @James says, good style would also include a comma after project, but missing that one out is nowhere near as bad as missing the first one, because in speech the first one practically must represent a pause, whereas conceivably the last one might not. Apr 2 '18 at 20:04

The purpose of punctuation is to make clear the grammatical structure of the sentence, especially in situations where the structure might be unclear without punctuation.

In speech, there are tonal patterns and rhythmic structures around appositives. In written text, without some other indicator like italics, the phrase may be a little hard to read. In these cases, a comma is a good idea and certainly does no harm.

A comma would be correct and helpful. I'd also use italics for the title like Mahabharat.

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