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    #1

    . . .dates back more than a century and a half, to a time when amusement parks . . .

    Could you please tell me why we should put a comma before "to a time" in the first sentence and why there is no comma before "to the Anglo-Norman period" in the second sentence?

    1. The Coney Island that lives in the public imagination dates back more than a
    century and a half, to a time when amusement parks served as a kind of cultural
    revolt against the genteel standards of taste and conduct.
    2. At least 11 great cathedrals of England date back more than 800 years to the Anglo-Norman period, during which a large number of French words poured into Old English and a thoroughly French system of feudalism dominated England.

    I feel that the prepositional phrase "to a time" and the following when-clause helps to add more information about what is meant by "more than a century and a half." Besides, the prepositional phrase can also be regarded as a deliberate repetition of the specific time mentioned in the main clause--a repetition emplyed for the purpose of emphasis and further elaboration. But I am not sure whether this makes sense or not.

    I have difficulty explaining why there is no comma before "to the Anglo-Norman period" in the second setence. Is it a matter of the pace and rhythm of the sentence?

    Thanks a lot

  1. Grumpy's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: . . .dates back more than a century and a half, to a time when amusement parks .

    I agree with your reasoning in both cases.
    I'm not a teacher of English, but I have spoken it for (almost) all of my life....

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    #3

    Re: . . .dates back more than a century and a half, to a time when amusement parks .

    A lot of it has to do with needing a pause when speaking.

    If the second sentence ended after "period." I may have used a comma before "to the Anglo-Norman period."

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