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    • Join Date: Dec 2005
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    #1

    a grammar teacher

    When asked later, if he thought he had made the right decision, George smiled and nodded.
    I need the reason of putting the part between commas. Is that an appositive or no it has another reason?
    When asked later is a clause or phrase? I know what a phrase or clause is but here it dosen't have a subject. That is why I have a problem.
    Thanks

  1. chester_100's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: a grammar teacher

    Quote Originally Posted by daisy1352 View Post
    When asked later, if he thought he had made the right decision, George smiled and nodded.
    I need the reason of putting the part between commas. Is that an appositive or no it has another reason?
    It has nothing to do with apposition.

    When asked later is a clause or phrase? I know what a phrase or clause is but here it dosen't have a subject. That is why I have a problem.
    Thanks

    First of all, that's a clause. Secondly, a clause doesn't need to have a subject. This is a participle clause and it's subject is decided by the independent clause (or better said sentence) that comes after it.

    I believe it's wrong to put the first comma in the sentence. The 'if' clause is part of 'when asked later'. We can't separate them. Some examples:

    -Studying for five hours, he was terribly tired = he was terribly tired, because he had studied for five hours.

    -When asked later, if he thought he had made the right decision, George smiled and nodded = when George was asked later if he had made the right decision, he smiled and nodded.



    C
    Last edited by chester_100; 14-Jul-2010 at 11:50.

  2. IHIVG's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: a grammar teacher

    Quote Originally Posted by chester_100 View Post
    I believe it's wrong to put the first comma in the sentence.
    I agree.
    You could simply say, "When [he was] asked later, George smiled and nodded."
    But "when asked if he..." is one inseparable clause.
    "if he thought he had made the right decision" is the same (structure) as "about his thoughts on his decision".

    When asked later about his thoughts on this decision, George smiled and nodded. -- you wouldn't put a comma after 'later'.


    • Join Date: Jun 2010
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    #4

    Re: a grammar teacher

    As has been stated above, the comma gives information about the grammar of a sentence. For example, "the man she loved" versus "the man, she loved".

    The comma also has another function, which is to tell you about things like the rhythm and tone of a piece of writing. A comma indicates a slight pause, and a pause can have a lot of different meanings.

    In the case of the sentence you've quoted, the addition of the comma changes the pace, the rhythm, and the feeling of the sentence. It's not strictly necessary; but it's not wrong either - and depending on author, the inclusion of that comma may well have been deliberate and calculated.

  3. chester_100's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: a grammar teacher

    Quote Originally Posted by rx-f View Post
    As has been stated above, the comma gives information about the grammar of a sentence. For example, 'the man she loved'; versus ';the man, she loved';.

    The comma also has another function, which is to tell you about things like the rhythm and tone of a piece of writing. A comma indicates a slight pause, and a pause can have a lot of different meanings.

    In the case of the sentence you've quoted, the addition of the comma changes the pace, the rhythm, and the feeling of the sentence. It's not strictly necessary; but it's not wrong either - and depending on author, the inclusion of that comma may well have been deliberate and calculated.
    Thank you,

    Your explanation is surely right, but it refers to the possible intentions of the writer, not grammar - which is the focus of the thread. The extralinguistic content of a sentence should be judged by scrutinizing the communication situation, and is impossible without access to the context.

    Also, in the study of discourse analysis, it's clearly stated that a pause can't just happen arbitrarily in a sentence. And the constituents should be organized both meaningfully and syntactically. It's very usual to separate that part of a sentence.

    IHIVG's augment, which shows the Replacement test, is certainly right.

    Good luck,
    Last edited by chester_100; 14-Jul-2010 at 18:10.

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