Here is the sentence as the author wrote it:
These habitats are home to many birds, from great birds of prey to tiny wrens and sparrows.
One of my co-editors is questioning the use of the comma. What do you say? When I read the sentence aloud, I pause at the comma, so it seems correct to me.
I believe a comma is required in your sentence.
The Chicago Manual of Style (16th edition, 2010) addresses this at 6.31 (Comma following main clause).
"A dependent clause that follows a main clause should not be preceded by a comma if it is restrictive, that is, essential to the meaning of the main clause.... If the dependent clause is merely supplementary or parenthetical, it should be preceded by a comma."
The MLA Style Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing (3rd edition, 2008) also addresses this at 3.4.2e.
"Use commas to set off a nonrestrictive modifier--that is, a modifier that is not essential to the meaning of the sentence. A nonrestrictive modifier, unlike a restrictive one, could be dropeed without changing the main sense of the sentence."
In your sentence, "from great birds of prey to tiny wrens and sparrows" is a nonrestrictive dependent clause. The meaning of the sentence--"these habitats are home to many birds"--is unchanged if the clause is omitted.
|link comment||answered Jul 16 '12 at 18:48 Jeff Pribyl Grammarly Fellow|
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