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    #1

    the Statue of Liberty(,) holding up her torch

    Hi,

    I have read the sentence ''As they entered New York Harbor, they saw the Statue of Liberty holding up her torch'' on the net and would like to ask why there is no comma before 'holding' because of 'the Statue of Liberty.'

    - As they entered New York Harbor, they saw the Statue of Liberty, holding up her torch.

    Thanks.

  1. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: the Statue of Liberty(,) holding up her torch

    The comma is not needed.

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    #3

    Re: the Statue of Liberty(,) holding up her torch

    Many thanks for the answer but could you please tell me why not?

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    #4

    Re: the Statue of Liberty(,) holding up her torch

    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****


    Hello, Ademoglu:

    Great question, as usual.

    I thought that the following would interest you.

    1. "He sat there staring at me."

    a. There is "no comma between staring and the verb because it is part of the predicate."
    b. "[T]he verb sat is not a full predicating verb; it requires a completing element."

    2. "Little Jack Horner sat in a corner, eating his Christmas pie."

    a. This participle modifies the subject of the sentence; it is not part of the predicate.
    b. The complete predicate is "sat in a corner."

    Source: House and Harman, Descriptive English Grammar (copyright 1931 and 1950)

    *****

    Only my opinion: Read that sentence ALOUD. If you do NOT use a comma, you will see that "holding up her torch" is part of the predicate "saw the Statue of Liberty holding up her torch." If you read that sentence with a comma, then you will notice that "holding up her torch" becomes something like an afterthought or even an unnecessary element. But it seems (without the comma) that the speaker is not just telling you that s/he saw the Statue but that s/he noticed the torch in her hand.

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    #5

    Re: the Statue of Liberty(,) holding up her torch

    Great answer, as usual.

    But why I feel confused about whether or not I should put a comma before the word 'holding' is the so-called 'non-defining' relative clauses. ''As the name suggests, non-defining relative clauses tell us more about someone or something, but the information in these clauses does not help us to define what we are talking about.'' (source http://www.edufind.com/english-gramm...ative-clauses/)

    Therefore, I thought that if the sentence ''As they entered New York Harbor, they saw the Statue of Liberty holding up her torch'' is equal to ''As they entered New York Harbor, they saw the Statue of Liberty, which holds up her torch'' why not should we put a comma before 'holding'? (Of course, I am not sure if we need a comma before 'which.')

    Anyway, many thanks for the answer.

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    #6

    Re: the Statue of Liberty(,) holding up her torch

    It is not a relative clause in this case.

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    #7

    Re: the Statue of Liberty(,) holding up her torch

    I think it comes down to a matter of style.

    It's NOT the case where sometimes you enter the harbor and she is holding the torch, and sometimes you enter the harbor and she's knitting a hat, so it clearly is additional information, and under old rules, that would require the comma.

    However, the movement these days is less punctuation. If you would pause when you spoke, include it. But leaving it out is perfectly acceptable. I'm a heavy comma user compared to many in modern writing, so I would put it in.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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    #8

    Re: the Statue of Liberty(,) holding up her torch

    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****

    Hello, Ademoglu:

    I think (think!) that there are three grammatically correct sentences -- depending on which idea you wish to convey.

    Mona: How was your trip to the Big Apple [New York City]?
    Raul: Great! I saw the Statue of Liberty.
    Mona: Of course. All tourists visit the Statue.

    Mona: How was your trip to the Big Apple?
    Raul: Great! I saw the Statue of Liberty holding up her torch.
    Mona: Oh, yes, everyone wants to see the torch in her hand. What an inspiring sight!

    Mona: How was your trip to the Big Apple?
    Raul: Great! I saw the Statue of Liberty, [who was] holding up her torch.
    Mona: You didn't have to tell me about the torch in her hand. Everyone in the world knows that!
    Last edited by TheParser; 02-Oct-2015 at 12:59.

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    #9

    Re: the Statue of Liberty(,) holding up her torch

    For me, it is no different from "I saw a dog standing in the street". No comma

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    #10

    Re: the Statue of Liberty(,) holding up her torch

    I think 'the Statue of Liberty holding up her torch' is a noun phrase, as is 'a dog standing in the street', so no comma is needed, but I am not a teacher.

    Quote Originally Posted by TheParser View Post
    "Little Jack Horner sat in a corner, eating his Christmas pie."
    Having read the following example, I consider the above comma optional rather than obligatory.
    'The children sat cross-legged on the floor playing a game.'── quoted from www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sit
    Last edited by Matthew Wai; 02-Oct-2015 at 13:26.

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