Does this sentence require commas?


Can you tell me if this sentence needs commas.  We have an disagreement going on and need to get it settled.  Here it is:


-- You’ll want to spend most if not all of your snorkel time off the south end of the beach. --


Does the phrase " if not all" require commas around it?


One side says yes, because removing the phrase doesn't change the meaning--non-restrictive.


The other side says no, because the writer  is trying to emphasize the south end of the beach is where the snorkeler should definitely spend their time--thus restrictive.


Which is correct or does it depend on the writer's intent and can go either way?

2 answers


I would put commas around it. The non-restrictive clause rule would apply. It adds emphasis, but isn't required to convey the meaning.

link comment answered Jul 31 '13 at 15:16 Lewis Neidhardt Grammarly Fellow

I vote for the commas.  The argument that the writer wants to emphasize where the snorkeler should spend time is silly.  The writer would then simply state “spend all of your time there.”  But the writer is specifically not restricting the activity to all of the time.  The writer is restricting it to most of your time, and providing an additional suggestion to consider all of your time. 

link comment answered Jul 31 '13 at 15:18 Patty T Grammarly Fellow

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