Does the comma make any difference?

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roseriver1012

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Out there, in the midst of the snow, _________ in long, black clothes.
A. a woman sat B. sat a woman
The answer is B. But one student asks me why there are commas, and what if the part"in the midst of the snow" is left out, leaving one comma there. Should the sentence still be inverted? That is:

Out there ____________.
Out there, ____________.
Out there ____________ in long, black clothes.
Out there, ____________ in long, black clothes.
a woman sat, sat a woman
Please help me complete these sentences, and give me your advice about that student's question. Thanks!

And there is another question:
No one was aware of where she had gone.
No one was aware where she had gone.
No one was aware of what she had done.
Which sentences are right? Thanks!
 
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Tdol

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It depends on the place there refers to and the importance of the snow- with the commas, there is more important and the snow is additional information. If you had a single comma after snow, the place and the weather would be a single thing.
 

roseriver1012

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It depends on the place there refers to and the importance of the snow- with the commas, there is more important and the snow is additional information. If you had a single comma after snow, the place and the weather would be a single thing.


I can't get your point. And what about that the invertion?
 
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bds51

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Hello Rose...,
Re the inversion: we often use it in sentences beginning with adverbs of location or direction. Re the commas: this is a matter of style or emphasis. Without the 2 commas, the sentence would suggest that it's normal to see women in black clothes sitting in the snow. It isn't normal, therefore the commas slow down the sentence to emphasize surprise or shock or some type of emotion.
 
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