There is a sentence I found in one book:

There was also the not negligible risk of brigandage which remained common the world over - a marginal symbol of widespread and permanent economic and social malaise.

The remarkable thing here is a lack of a comma just before "which remained..". As it is said, in these cases we should omit a comma if want to define an object and set it apart from others, and we should use a comma if our goal is rather to add some extra information.

Keeping this rule in mind, I would rather prefer to see a comma in that place - the relative clause just tells an additional story about the brigandage.

Can the absence of a comma be thought of a typo or the author tried to convey a meaning I can't recognize?

  • The author sees it as providing more information, not as something set apart.
    – Lambie
    Commented Sep 27, 2021 at 13:42
  • @Lambie if so, why is not there a comma? My question is exactly on it. Commented Sep 27, 2021 at 13:52
  • There's only one kind of brigandage, so the relative clause is non-restrictive. I would expect it to be set apart by punctuation.
    – BillJ
    Commented Sep 27, 2021 at 14:38
  • I would add the comma. If I felt a need to add defining information, the same logic would lead me to write the brigandage. Commented Jul 25, 2022 at 12:25

1 Answer 1


There is no need for a comma if it is not a separate or parenthetical clause, which it isn't. Maybe the author should have used 'that', but it isn't incorrect.

Actually, the remarkable thing to me is the lack of a hyphen in 'not-negotiable', and that they haven't used 'non-negotiable'.

  • Could you expand on it a bit, when is a clause considered to be separate and why the clause under discussion is not separate? All grammar guides I've been following on this topic relate (non-)presence a comma with the idea of "setting apart" an object from other ones. Commented Sep 27, 2021 at 14:17
  • Punctuation is required. There is only one kind of 'brigandage', so the relative clause is a supplementary (non-restrictive) one.
    – BillJ
    Commented Sep 27, 2021 at 15:53

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