: or , or none

editing_for_authors
Editing for authors: because every writer needs a good editor.

VTwriter

Hair today, gone tomorrow
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Apr 15, 2009
Messages
205
Reaction score
27
Location
Vermont
Which is the proper punctuation for this sentence:

These men subscribed to the old adage: "Happy wife. Happy life."

These men subscribed to the old adage, "Happy wife. Happy life."

These men subscribed to the old adage "Happy wife. Happy life."
 

Maryn

Fully Autumnal
Staff member
Moderator
Kind Benefactor
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Feb 12, 2005
Messages
46,400
Reaction score
12,342
Location
Leather Chair
No punctuation is necessary, so option three.

Surely you want to know why, so this question won't crop up again and again in your writing life, right?

The phrase in quotes is an appositive, renaming or adding further identification to the noun just preceding it.

If the appositive is necessary to fully identify the preceding noun, then you don't use commas. Examples:
Katy adored her high school teacher Mrs. Dillon. (Katy has multiple teachers, and the appositive explains which one she adores)
Hockey's Detroit Red Wings had a good season. (There are lots of NHL teams, and the appositive identifies which one had a good season.)
Clay visited his classmate Skeeter in the hospital. (Clay has many classmates, and the appositive tells which one Clay visited.)
We ate Mom's dessert nesselrode pie. (Mom makes more than one dessert.)
These men subscribed to the old adage "Happy wife. Happy life." (There are a great many old adages.)

So when do you use commas? When the noun preceding the appositive would be enough to identify or fully clarify what the appositive only adds to.
Katy adored her piano teacher, Mrs. Dillon. (Katy has only one piano teacher.)
The Lions, Bobbi's school's team, had a good hockey season. (Bobbi's school has only one hockey team.)
Clay visited his best friend, Skeeter, in the hospital. (Clay has only one best friend.)
We ate Mom's signature dessert, nesselrode pie, with gusto. (Mom has only one signature dessert.)
These men subscribed to Lawrence's favorite old adage, "Happy wife, happy life."

FWIW--you didn't ask--I'd put your adage in a single sentence with a comma, like I did just above.

Maryn, grammar nerd
 
  • Like
Reactions: Nether

VTwriter

Hair today, gone tomorrow
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Apr 15, 2009
Messages
205
Reaction score
27
Location
Vermont
No punctuation is necessary, so option three.

Surely you want to know why, so this question won't crop up again and again in your writing life, right?

The phrase in quotes is an appositive, renaming or adding further identification to the noun just preceding it.

If the appositive is necessary to fully identify the preceding noun, then you don't use commas. Examples:
Katy adored her high school teacher Mrs. Dillon. (Katy has multiple teachers, and the appositive explains which one she adores)
Hockey's Detroit Red Wings had a good season. (There are lots of NHL teams, and the appositive identifies which one had a good season.)
Clay visited his classmate Skeeter in the hospital. (Clay has many classmates, and the appositive tells which one Clay visited.)
We ate Mom's dessert nesselrode pie. (Mom makes more than one dessert.)
These men subscribed to the old adage "Happy wife. Happy life." (There are a great many old adages.)

So when do you use commas? When the noun preceding the appositive would be enough to identify or fully clarify what the appositive only adds to.
Katy adored her piano teacher, Mrs. Dillon. (Katy has only one piano teacher.)
The Lions, Bobbi's school's team, had a good hockey season. (Bobbi's school has only one hockey team.)
Clay visited his best friend, Skeeter, in the hospital. (Clay has only one best friend.)
We ate Mom's signature dessert, nesselrode pie, with gusto. (Mom has only one signature dessert.)
These men subscribed to Lawrence's favorite old adage, "Happy wife, happy life."

FWIW--you didn't ask--I'd put your adage in a single sentence with a comma, like I did just above.

Maryn, grammar nerd
Thank you, Maryn.
 

Happy Thanksgiving

Autumn image for Thanksgiving