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  1. #1
    Book Werm
    Guest

    hyphens or commas

    Are either of the two ways of punctuating this sentence correct?

    In fact, the only men of dissimilar backgrounds with whom he came into contact on a regular basis, were Fredo, his Italian piece goods cutter, and Johnson, the colored handyman.

    In fact, the only men of dissimilar backgrounds with whom he came into contact on a regular basis, were Fredo –his Italian piece goods cutter –and Johnson, the colored handyman.



  2. #2
    Gary Kessler
    Guest

    Re: hyphens or commas

    The first is correct (except why not just "the only men of dissimilar backgrounds he came into contact with on a regular basis"? The original is convoluted, prissy high school marm talk).

    In the second, you aren't referring to using hyphens at all, but em dashes--and neither are appropriate in this context.

  3. #3
    Lorelei Armstrong
    Guest

    Re: hyphens or commas

    Actually,

    In fact, the only men of dissimilar backgrounds with whom he came into contact on a regular basis were Fredo, his Italian piece goods cutter, and Johnson, the colored handyman.

    I killed comma #2. You stuck it in there because, as Gary pointed out, that phrase does go on a bit.

  4. #4
    sam albion
    Guest

    Re: hyphens or commas


    better perhaps, is..

    In fact, the only men of dissimilar backgrounds with whom he came into contact regularly were the coloured handyman, Johnson, and the Italian piece cutter Fredo.

    Just one comma, and a full stop. Cuts the sentence down a little too, without losing any of your descriptions.

    I don't know what a piece cutter is, though, and I don't know if it's acceptable to use the word "coloured". Perhas it would be better to state he was, for instance, African-American (unless your novel is set in the deep south and before WW2), especially when you refer to the Fredo's nationality, as opposed to his skin colour...

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