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One helpful set of terms is essential vs. nonessential. When the identifier makes sense in the sentence by itself, then the name is nonessential and you use a comma before it. Otherwise, no comma. That explains an exception to the only-thing-in-the-world rule: when the words “a,” “an” or “some,” or a number, come before the description or identification of a name, use a comma.

What would be some examples using "some" or a number ?

What about these examples using one comma? Is this usage incorrect?

The branch would like to thank mayor, cllr Jane Smith for her generous work.

Volunteer, Lucy has set out to arrange a charity run.

Jenny and her partner, Steven would instead be attached as potential owners.

So any description or identification before a name requires that name to be set off with commas?

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    What do you mean by "cllr Jane Smith"?
    – Robusto
    Aug 14, 2018 at 0:42
  • 2
    Possible duplicate of comma usage: "My sister Hannah" vs "My sister, Hannah"
    – Robusto
    Aug 14, 2018 at 0:46
  • @Robusto I am guessing that cllr is an abbreviation of councillor.
    – Hellion
    Aug 31, 2018 at 13:12
  • Volunteer, Lucy....makes no sense in English.
    – Lambie
    Oct 29, 2019 at 0:30
  • Volunteer, Lucy....makes no sense in English. (How should it be written. Just drop the commas?
    – bluebell1
    Oct 30, 2019 at 8:13

2 Answers 2

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What would be some examples using "some" or a number ?

  • Some examples, like this one, are self-referential.

  • Two self-referential examples, the last one and this one, appear in this answer.

What about these examples using one comma? Is this usage incorrect?

Yes, it is incorrect. There should be commas inclosing the appositive.

So any description or identification before a name requires that name to be set off with commas?

No. That's the entire point of the paragraph that you quoted. Essential information is provided without being set off in commas. Extra information is set off with commas.

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Your third example is fine provided you put a second comma after the appositive "Steven".

Your first example similarly, but you need "the" before "Mayor".

The middle example doesn't make sense in normal use: "A volunteer, Lucy, ..." would be fine.

In newpaper articles you do find things like "Volunteer Lucy Smith has set out ... " There is no comma, because they Lucy Smith is identifying, and so is essential. What is odd there is using "volunteer" almost as a title - as I say, this is unusual outside journalism.

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