Put the Comma Here Right?

Don’t worry, I’ll soon be out of sterile language topics to write about. But before that I want to write about something that doesn’t have a term that I know of. It’s the comma usage close to the sentence end.

Surprisingly, even professional (those people get paid to write this stuff, hence professional) texts are full of mistakes regarding this rule and it’s frequently forgotten. Have the most prominent example of its usage when combined with names:

Let’s go and eat Grandpa!

It’s a wonderful example of how a single mandatory comma can shift the meaning of a sentence. You’re supposed to put a comma in front of “Grandpa” here, of course. It’s mandatory, too. If memory serves right, you always have to put commas if names are involved unless those names are the noun of the sentence or an object. Hence:

George, what are you going to do tonight?

And when you use it as a noun or object:

What is George going to do tonight?

What are you going to do with George tonight? You whore.

That’s just the usage when calling out to people. An even more vexing case that’s often put wrongly is its usage in these case:

You’re not going to eat that, right?

The comma is, again, mandatory. If you leave it off, the meaning shifts and it’d mean something like, “You’re going to eat that wrong?” The same applies to other kinds of further questioning. Have a list:

Isn’t it? Doesn’t it? Don’t you? Am I right? Huh? Do you? …

When these phrases are put at the end of a sentence like, “You were there, weren’t you?”, the comma is mandatory as the phrase itself is not part of the initial sentence. But as mentioned at the top, even professionally written texts tend to get this wrong now and then.

Another short advice on names especially in light novels. When stuff gets chained by a lot of “の”s when describing a character, you should use a comma too. This reads more than vague now, so an example:

His little sister, Akiko, was the embodiment of a perfect imouto.

I won’t bet on whether it’s mandatory, but my brain says that names, if accompanied by, how to say it, some kind of title attribute, have to be isolated from the sentence. “The King of England, George,” but “the black-haired Akiko”, but “the black-haired princess, Akiko”, but “the black-haired, princess-like Akiko.” Yay, vague like hell. Deal with it.

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