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The Maple tree full of leaves stood in the entrance of the building.

Should I enclose "full of leaves" within a pair of commas?

The Maple tree, full of leaves, stood in the entrance of the building.

Should commas be used in place of "that is" in sentences like these?

2 Answers 2

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The maple tree full of leaves stood in the entrance of the building.

This is describing a particular maple tree: the one full of leaves. It refers to a specific maple tree that was previously introduced and described at the time as being full of leaves. You wouldn't want to use this form unless in a previous sentence you described a maple tree full of leaves.

The maple tree, full of leaves, stood in the entrance of the building.

This is referring to a previously described maple tree, and noting that it was full of leaves. You could have previously referred to a maple tree without describing its leaves. You could remove ", full of leaves," and it would still be clear which maple tree stood in the entrance. I am guessing this is what you mean.

Note that "maple" is usually not capitalized in this usage.

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  • I am sorry. I don't get the difference between the two sentences. To me, they both look the same.
    – Ammu
    Oct 25, 2022 at 21:11
  • @Ammu I edited to attempt to explain further
    – Steve V
    Oct 25, 2022 at 21:24
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    The maple tree full of leaves could distinguish this tree from others that aren't full of leaves. If the phrase is enclosed between commas, it merely acts as extra description of the one tree we are talking about. Oct 26, 2022 at 17:45
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Probably, yes, you should enclose that phrase in commas, but let's be sure.

If you enclose it in commas, then the meaning of the sentence is something like:

The maple tree stood in the entrance of the building and it was full of leaves.

Or

The maple tree, which was full of leaves, stood in the entrance of the building.

This is probably the meaning you intend.

Without commas, the function of "full of leaves" is to specify which maple tree among many stood in the entrance of the building. This probably requires that you've already mentioned several trees, one of which was full of leaves, but you haven't mentioned where any of the trees were growing. To me, it is quite odd to describe a tree and its appearance without saying where the tree is to begin with. That's why I'm guessing this sentence doesn't follow your intent.

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  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – gotube
    Oct 25, 2022 at 23:46

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