Correct use of commas in this statement(?)

1

I was told that the following sentence should have 2 commas added to encircle the phrase, "who the item is for," but I think it makes the sentence too choppy.  Can anyone help me understand which is correct and why?  Thanks in advance! 

 

"If the requested item is not on the list, the employee who the item is for must request permission to order using their manager’s unit cost center."

 

vs.

 

"If the requested item is not on the list, the employee, who the item is for, must request permission to order using their manager’s unit cost center."

1 answer


1

"Who the item is for" is a relative pronoun clause. Whether the relative pronoun clause is enclosed with commas, or not, depends upon whether it is restrictive (sometimes called defining) or nonrestrictive (or nondefining).

 

A restrictive or defining clause must be part of the sentence. If it is omitted, the meaning of the sentence is fundamentally changed. Restrictive clauses are not enclosed with commas.

 

A nonrestrictive clause adds additional information to the sentence. If it is left out, the basic meaning of the sentence remains intact. Nonrestrictive clauses are enclosed with commas.

 

In your sentence, the relative pronoun clause is restrictive. If it is left out, the meaning of the sentence changes -- it is no longer referring to a specific employee (who the item is for) but to any employee. Because is it a restrictive clause, you should not add the commas.

 

I hope this helps.

link answered Dec 12 '12 at 20:37 Jeff Pribyl Grammarly Fellow

It sure does - thank you so much for explaining!

Mette GreisingDec 12 '12 at 22:13

add comment

Your answer


Write at least 20 characters

Have a question about English grammar, style or vocabulary use? Ask now to get help from Grammarly experts for FREE.