Commas after introductory phrases

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I have a problem with commas after introductory phrases in the following example: “Along the top of one of the shelves were several heads, not busts or formal sculpture, but heads that appeared to have been cut off of sculptures.”

It seems to me that having the word "of" means this is not an introductory phrase. I had the same issue in another sentence starting with "In the corner of the room... Grammarly is telling me I may need a comma after "in the corner."

asked Mar 30 '11 at 18:25 Bridgette Mongeon New member

1 answer


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You are correct in saying that "Along the top of one of the shelves were several heads" is not an introductory phrase. It is, in fact, a complete clause that could stand alone as a sentence. Because "not busts... off of sculptures" is a phrase that expands on this clause, I would separate the two with a dash, rather than a comma:

 

“Along the top of one of the shelves were several heads-- not busts or formal sculpture [is this word supposed to be plural?], but heads that appeared to have been cut off of sculptures.”

 

Putting a comma after "in the corner" would be wrong, because "of the room" would then be fragmented. I don't think "of" has anything to do with it. "In the corner of the room" can function both as an introductory phrase set off by a comma, and as a prepositional phrase without a comma:

 

"In the corner of the room, Jane propped a ladder against the wall and climbed up."

"In the corner of the room lay a dust-covered doll."

link comment answered Mar 30 '11 at 19:19 Collane Ramsey Expert

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