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  1. Mayor Steven Smith attended a charity event.
  2. Wildlife Liaison Officer, Lorraine Nelson, attended the scene of the incident.

These examples were taken from a newspaper.

How does the appositive, in this case an occupation "Mayor", differ from "Wildlife Liaison Officer" in terms of it taking commas? They are both similar in that they are both occupations and not specific identifiers?

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One should not separate a title from a name with a comma. The newspaper that did so was in error.


Where a comma would be used is when a name is preceded by a noun clause, like this:

The officer who responded, Sergeant Smith, stated ...

A police officer responded to the call. That officer, Sergeant Smith, ...

This is called apposition. The writer of the erroneous article may simply have gotten confused about the structure of the sentence.

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@TypeIA's answer is correct, but I thought it might be worth clarifying.

Both 'Mayor' and 'Wildlife Liaison Officer' are part of the person's title in the context used. They therefore should not be separated by commas. They are, in effect, part of the person's name.

Mayor John Smith

Wildlife Liaison Officer Jane Brown

Or, to use an example from Catch 22:

Major Major Major Major.

If an article were to be used in any of those sentences, then a comma becomes required, as the person's name then acts to qualify the noun, and is not a required part of the sentence.

The Wildlife Liaison Officer, Jane Brown, said that ...

Bonus off-topic mumbling:

In Canada it is common in modern practice to refer to MPs and provincial MPPs as if MP/MPP were a title conveying honour and not simply a post-nominal description of someone's job. "MP Mary Jones", for example.

This practice annoys me greatly. In the UK the usage certainly used to be to say, for example, "Mr John Smith, MP", and even "the Prime Minister, Mrs Margaret Thatcher". This distinction, and the use of a comma, emphasized that politicians were still entirely ordinary people and did not gain a special titles by election. It sounded jarring when Americans would say things like "Mr Prime Minister" or "Prime Minister Thatcher". Worse still was any suggestion of continuing to call someone "Prime Minister X" after they had left office.

It's a subtle point, but the use of commas and articles in these cases makes an important egalitarian distinction that I for one would prefer to see continue.

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1.Mayor Steven Smith attended a charity event.

2.Wildlife Liason Officer, Lorraine Nelson, attended the scene of the incident.

These examples were taken from a newspaper.

How does the appositive, in this case an occupation, Mayor differ from Wildlife Liaison Officer, in terms of it taking commas? They are both similar in that they are both occupations and not specific identifiers?


Sorry you are incorrect.

Mayor is a title Therefore it is a specific identifier.

Therefore there is no comma between Mayor and his name it is one phrase. The continuing sentence is also short and joins perfectly with the name to make a complete sentence without several phrases. The second example would be awkward without the commas as it is listing three item. Occupation, name, reason.

answers.comThe Mayor of a city would be addressed as Honorable (full name), Mayor of (name of town). Any elected official is addressed as Honorable, and they may retain the title for life.

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    Your incorrect? Also, your remarks about mayors are wrong for my country. – Michael Harvey Aug 25 '19 at 16:59
  • @Michael Harvey Thank you for the comment. You would be amazed how many people mark you down or whatever and do not comment even on your typos. Mayor is listed as a title in the UK or should I say England as I think Scotland does not use that title en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Title and the above link in the question references the U.S. If I have erred in my research my apologise. – Brad Aug 26 '19 at 2:07
  • @Michael Harvey The correct term of address for UK and commonwealth Mayors is Your Worship except in specific locations where it is Right Worshipful, according to en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Worship_(style) – Brad Aug 26 '19 at 2:24

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