Today we're hitting upon one of my biggest-biggest-biggest pet peeves--namely, unnecessary commas around single-word appositives.
But let's start at the beginning.
What's an appositive?
An appositive is a noun or pronoun used with another noun or pronoun to identify or explain it.
Appositives are easy to find because they ALWAYS directly follow the noun or pronoun they're identifying or explaining. You use them all the time, even if you never knew what they were called.
Mrs. Twitch, the tenth grade science teacher, has a blue wart on her chin.
In the above sentence, the tenth grade science teacher identifies Mrs. Twitch. It's an appositive. And because it is made up of more than one word, it needs to be set off by commas. ALWAYS.
My dog Stinkypaw caught a flying raccoon.
Here comes the pet peeve: NINETY-NINE PERCENT OF WRITERS WILL UNABASHEDLY PUT COMMAS AROUND "Stinkypaw." And it's WRONG. The commas are totally unnecessary and serve nothing more than to clutter the sentence.
Look how crowded this is:
My dog, Stinkypaw, caught a flying raccoon. <------ AAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!
I don't honestly know what the compulsion is among writerkind to put commas around single-word appositives. And it's everywhere--newspaper articles, blog posts, published novels.
Take note. After a while, it'll pop out at you. And, hopefully, annoy you!
Ferdinand, my husband, is a bull fighter. (CORRECT)
My husband, Ferdinand, is a bull fighter. (INCORRECT! Ferdinand is a single word--no commas needed.)
My husband Ferdinand is a bull fighter. (CORRECT)
Sheepy, Shiela's pet sheep, is sheepish. (CORRECT)
Shiela's pet sheep, Sheepy, is sheepish. (INCORRECT! Sheepy is a single word--no commas needed.)
Shiela's pet sheep Sheepy is sheepish. (CORRECT)
Got it? Awesome!