Comma polygamy

Our church recently hired a new youth pastor and one of the things I kept noticing in e-mails I was receiving about him was the – to me at least – blatant absence of a comma before his wife’s name in sentences like “His wife (her name).”

Because I’m one of those annoying grammar nerds (or Nazis as some like to call us), my first thought was that he had more than one wife since the grammatical rule of thumb is that if she is one of several wives she doesn’t get a comma.

For example, when I refer to my brother Mike, I don’t use a comma because I have more than one brother.

I was reminded of this again the other day while writing an article about a mission trip because I had to check to see whether a guy I was referring to in the article had just the two daughters that were going on the trip with him or more. Since he has four, a comma was unnecessary.

Fellow grammar nerds will read that sentence and deduct from it that either a. I need to polish up on my grammar or b. He has more than two daughters. Everyone else won’t even notice or care.

Consider this my half of the Jesus fish in the sand.

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