Apposition and Description Exercise (519)

In each sentence below, insert or delete internal punctuation if necessary.

Answers and Explanations

1.
Original: In an interview with the Canadian cable TV news network, CP24, he vehemently denied the allegations.
Correct : In an interview with the Canadian cable TV news network CP24, he vehemently denied the allegations.

If CP24 were the only Canadian cable TV news network, the sentence would read as shown in the original sentence. If it were one of two or more such networks, the revision would be adequate.

2.
Original: There’s no reason to be concerned about a few turkey germs when the same pathogens live on your own hands, the federation’s vice president of scientific and regulatory affairs Mary Jones says.
Correct : There’s no reason to be concerned about a few turkey germs when the same pathogens live on your own hands, the federation’s vice president of scientific and regulatory affairs, Mary Jones, says.

Because Mary Jones presumably is the federation’s only vice president of scientific and regulatory affairs, this sentence requires a comma before her name to demonstrate that the name and the job description refer to the same person.

3.
Original: This 1960 photo shows actor Michael Ansara on location for the TV series, "Law of the Plainsman."
Correct : This 1960 photo shows actor Michael Ansara on location for the TV series "Law of the Plainsman."

A comma preceding "TV series" creates the impression that "Law of the Plainsman" is the only TV series. (That punctuation is appropriate only if a reference to the TV series had previously been made without naming it.) Here, "TV series" is not being used as an appositive for "Law of the Plainsman" another way of describing it); it is merely a description of the type of thing "Law of the Plainsman" is.

4.
Original: The Huns who were Mongolian invaded Gaul in 451.
Correct : The Huns, who were Mongolian, invaded Gaul in 451.

Without framing punctuation, the sentence suggests that more than one class of Huns, existed—those who were Mongolian, and one or more other groups—and sets up an expectation that the other class(es) will also be mentioned.

5.
Original: The term, "scientific illiteracy," has become almost a cliché in educational circles.
Correct : The term "scientific illiteracy" has become almost a cliché in educational circles.

As is the case in the third sentence in this set of exercises, the internal punctuation (here, a pair of commas) is erroneous because it implies that only one term exists. The commas are correct only if a previous reference to a term has been made.

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