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Is comma required here?

Tan029Tan029 10 replies4 threads New Member
Which is correct?

(1) Living at sea far from major seaports, meant that hunger was a normal part of daily living.

(2)Living at sea, far from major seaports, meant that hunger was a normal part of daily living.
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Replies to: Is comma required here?

  • LindagafLindagaf 11568 replies611 threads Super Moderator
    Is this a homework question?

    Which part of the first sentence works on its own if you take away the part that comes before or after the comma? That's your answer.
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  • LynnskiLynnski 245 replies12 threads Junior Member
    Neither is great, but if these are the only choices, then #2 is correct.
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  • Tan029Tan029 10 replies4 threads New Member
    edited June 2019
    Actually the question is in 'the ultimate guide to SAT grammar by ERICA L. MELTZER' (question 8.1, page 94)

    The answer is option B, which makes statement 1.

    edited June 2019
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  • TheSATTeacherTheSATTeacher 236 replies0 threads Junior Member
    @Tan029

    Here's an explanation.

    Grammatically speaking, the subject of sentence 1 is "Living at sea far from major seaports". ("Living at sea..." is a gerund which means it functions as a noun.) Immediately after this we have the verb. We never use a comma to separate the subject from the verb (you wouldn't say "She, ate pizza.").

    Alternatively, we might say that this isn't the subject but instead a modifier such as a gerund or participle phrase. If we get rid of a modifying phrase like this, the rest of the sentence must be able to stand on its own as a complete sentence. This is not the case here: "meant that hunger was a normal part of daily living" is not a complete sentence.

    The subject of sentence 2 is "Living at sea". Here, "far from major seaports" is the modifier. Accordingly, it is bookended by commas. As such, it must be grammatically eliminable from the sentence and indeed it is: "Living at sea meant that hunger was a normal part of daily living." is a complete sentence.

    Hope this helps. If you want any clarification, let me know.
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  • Tan029Tan029 10 replies4 threads New Member
    Thanks
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