...go on a pilgrimage, given our limited finances.

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Tan Elaine

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It was truly hard to imagine that we could afford to go on a pilgrimage, given our limited finances.

Is the comma before 'given' optional? (The sentence is from a Buddhist magazine.)

Thanks.
 

GoesStation

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I'd say it's required.
 

Lynxear

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It was truly hard to imagine that we could afford to go on a pilgrimage, given our limited finances.

Is the comma before 'given' optional? (The sentence is from a Buddhist magazine.)

Thanks.

As I understand it in this case the comma is required for the past participle phrase.

I think the rule is that if the participle phrase directly follows the word it modifies then there is no comma. Otherwise there should be a comma before the phrase.

Example

The detective followed the woman out of the store, watching her every move.

The woman walked out the door with the detective watching her every move.


In this case I have constructed the sentence with very little change in meaning (the second sentence does not have the detective following her).

"Watching her every move" modifies "detective". In the first sentence the phrase is separated from "detective" so a comma before "watching" is required. In the second sentence the phrase directly follows "detective" so there is not comma used.

I hope this helps.
 
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