The following two portions of sentences refer to I-270 (also known, apparently, as the "outerbelt highway,") which is near Columbus, Ohio. (See http://tinyurl.com/2xbc3 for source if you wish.)

"...near Columbus, Ohio's Interstate 270."
"...near Columbus, Ohio's outerbelt highway..."
My questions:
Would you put a comma after "Ohio's" (leaving the apostrophe as is)?

Or would you, instead, rephrase the references? And if so, how?

Maria Conlon
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"Maria Conlon" (Email Removed) wrote on 20 Feb 2004:
The following two portions of sentences refer to I-270 (also known, apparently, as the "outerbelt highway,") which is near Columbus, ... a comma after "Ohio's" (leaving the apostrophe as is)? Or would you, instead, rephrase the references? And if so, how?

They are egregious examples of misplaced modifiers as they stand now. They both identify Columbus as one of Ohio's highways. It has to be rewritten as
(1) "near Columbus, on Ohio's Interstate 270"
or
(2) "on Ohio's Interstate 270 near Columbus"
and
(3) "near the Columbus, Ohio, outerbelt highway, I-270".

But, hey, that's how the language is misused in the media, and as we are required to accept what the media feed us as everyday and, therefore, standard English, there is no room for complaint here.

It might be interesting to see the response from the editor of CNN's Website to a diplomatic letter requesting a policy statement about such solecisms. This looks like a job for Donna.

Franke: EFL teacher & medical editor.
The following two portions of sentences refer to I-270 (also ... would you, instead, rephrase the references? And if so, how?

They are egregious examples of misplaced modifiers as they stand now. They both identify Columbus as one of Ohio's highways. It has to be rewritten as (1) "near Columbus, on Ohio's Interstate 270"

I think you've completely misunderstood the meaning of the quotes Maria was asking about (which is strong evidence that they need rephrasing). The intended meaning isn't (1) above; rather it's 'near the Interstate
270 of Columbus, Ohio'. That is, it's to be parsed as "{Columbus, Ohio}'sInterstate 270".
-Aaron J. Dinkin
Dr. Whom
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...
} But, hey, that's how the language is misused in the media, and as we } are required to accept what the media feed us as everyday and, } therefore, standard English, there is no room for complaint here.

You couldn't squeeze in another "as"? And why no comma before the first one?

R. J. Valentine
"Aaron J. Dinkin" (Email Removed) wrote on 20 Feb 2004:

I don't know why you snipt this stuff:
(1) "near Columbus, on Ohio's Interstate 270"
or
(2) "on Ohio's Interstate 270 near Columbus"
and
(3) "near the Columbus, Ohio, outerbelt highway, I-270".
I think you've completely misunderstood the meaning of the quotes

I think you are shooting in the dark. look at (3) above. That is the meaning of both the quotes.
Maria was asking about (which is strong evidence that they need rephrasing). The intended meaning isn't (1) above;

Wrong, wrongity, wrong, wrong. I'm sorry.
rather it's 'near the Interstate 270 of Columbus, Ohio'.

This is poor English, Aaron. You're stretching things too far. There is no need for "the" before "Interstate" in this sentence.
That is, it's to be parsed as "{Columbus, Ohio}'s Interstate 270".

And that's exactly how I parsed it in (3) above. So why are you complaining? Besides, you're wrong about what it means.

I've checked a map. My understanding of the quotes initially came from the CNN article. I understood I-270 to be a beltway surrounding Columbus.
"A bullet found in the door of a minivan Wednesday was a hoax and not related to a string of 24 shootings near Columbus, Ohio's outerbelt highway, authorities said."
This sentence and the map of Ohio I looked at(1) tell me that you don't know what you are talking about here, Aaron. I-270 is not Columbus's highway. It's too big for that and too big for "{Columbus, Ohio}'s Interstate 270" to be meaningful unless "Columbus's" is changed to "the Columbus, Ohio, metropolitan area's".

The second sentence, a photo captions, is, in full:

"The bullet found in this van door is not related to the 24 shootings near Columbus, Ohio's Interstate 270."
NOTES:
(1) As it turns out, it really is an outerbelt highway and surrounds a number of smaller towns and cities with Columbus in the center. It is an Interstate that exists only in Ohio, so it is "Ohio's Interstate 270", but not "{Columbus, Ohio}'s Interstate 270". Although it may be reasonably called "the Columbus, Ohio, metropolitan area's Interstate 270".

Franke: EFL teacher & medical editor.
The following two portions of sentences refer to I-270 (also known, apparently, as the "outerbelt highway,") which is near Columbus, ... a comma after "Ohio's" (leaving the apostrophe as is)? Or would you, instead, rephrase the references? And if so, how?

I would rephrase it for a highly formal piece of writing, but not otherwise; I dislike the attitude that says if you can't figure out how to punctuate something, it must be a bad thing to say. Punctuation is there to serve, not to dictate. If you're recording the way people talk, there must be some way to put that on paper.
You happened to pick a state with a short name, Ohio. When I check to see how this is handled in general, similar examples turn up immediate confusion between the state that merely identifies the city, and the state as the main subject. Sometimes this is separated by a dash or colon, but not always:
Historic San Francisco: California's Bridge to the Past
You'll leave your heart in San Francisco, California's famous "City by the Bay."
Checking examples with abbreviations leads to the other sort of use, like the one you gave. I probably should copied more following text as proof, but these are all cases where the state abbreviation is put as incidental identification (rather important, in cases like Portland):

Portland ME's Casco Bay Bridge
Portland, OR's Dignity Village
Columbia, SC's City Center Partnership
Houston, TX's insurance, pension & employee count. Denver, Co's performing arts district
the ballroom in San Francisco, CA's Bellevue Hotel Some good news for Boston, MA's working people
Cleveland, OH's legendary outlaw poet
I didn't see anyone try to put a comma after the state. We don't ever put commas between the possessor and the thing possessed

my friend's father
my friend's father's business
my wife's brother's car
the king of England's throne
Seattle's business community
so I don't see why it should be done, here. Setting "Ohio" off in commas, before and after, would look stranger because it would split the possessive in a way that is never done.
If anything should be questioned, it's whether the habitual comma separating city and state should be left out. It's almost like we have one of those compound modifiers that needs to be tied together for speed, not paused around. It's like "a never-to-be-forgotten experience," not "a never to be, forgotten, experience"... So that would make it "near Columbus-Ohio's Interstate 270"... Not that I would expect to see that solution.

Best Donna Richoux
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The following two portions of sentences refer to I-270 (also known, apparently, as the "outerbelt highway,") which is near Columbus, ... 270." "...near Columbus, Ohio's outerbelt highway..." My questions: Would you put a comma after "Ohio's" (leaving the apostrophe as is)?

That would be better than "Columbus, Ohio,'s".
Or would you, instead, rephrase the references? And if so, how?

"...near Interstate 270 around Columbus, Ohio."
"...near the Columbus, Ohio, outerbelt highway..."

In the version with the number, there might be an advantage in having the city before the road number, to avoid alarming people who live near other I-270s.

Ray Heindl
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(Email Removed) (Donna Richoux) wrote on 21 Feb 2004:
The following two portions of sentences refer to I-270 (also ... would you, instead, rephrase the references? And if so, how?

I would rephrase it for a highly formal piece of writing, but not otherwise; I dislike the attitude that says ... not to dictate. If you're recording the way people talk, there must be some way to put that on paper.

You are missing the entire problem here, Donna. San Francisco is* "California's Bridge to the Past" and it *is* "California's City by the Bay", but Columbus *is not "Ohio's Interstate 270". All the examples here are (NOUN, APPOSITIVE), but the two in the CNN article Maria pointed out are both grammatically wrong and semantically confusing.
You happened to pick a state with a short name, Ohio.

Irrelevant.
When I check to see how this is handled in general, similar examples turn up immediate confusion between the state ... San Francisco: California's Bridge to the Past You'll leave your heart in San Francisco, California's famous "City by the Bay."

(snipt another issue: commas after state names when they follow city names. Not the issue here)

Franke: EFL teacher & medical editor.
Ray Heindl (Email Removed) wrote on 21 Feb 2004:

There are no other I-270s; there's only that one surrounding the Greater Columbus, Ohio, Metropolitan Area,

Franke: EFL teacher & medical editor.
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