Comma "pause" question

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A friend and I were playing Trivial Pursuit when we came across this question: "What Jack Nicholson film had a pair of glasses in a goldfish pond key to its plot?"  This game in particular is quite old, so the wording isn't as contemporary.  I struggled over reading the question aloud and suggested that I thought it should have a comma after "pond."  It would then read: "What Jack Nicholson film had a pair of glasses in a goldfish pond, key to its plot?"

 

I wasn't saying that the first iteration was incorrect, I just thought a comma would help its flow.  The friend said that the comma would make it grammatically incorrect.   He went on to say something along the lines that one part of the sentence needed to stand on its own.  If "key to its plot" was removed, for example, then the first part would stand on its own, but "key to its plot" was integral to the point.

 

One site I found stated that, "Any comma essentially represents a pause – one that gives your readers the signal to take a quick breath before continuing with the next portion of the sentence."  I honestly wasn't sure in this situation, and the examples weren't helping me with this particular sentence.

 

Thanks ;]

comma pause asked Jul 14 '14 at 18:56 Adam New member

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Trivial Pursuit came out when I was a freshman in college.  Groan ;-)

link comment answered Jul 16 '14 at 12:31 Tony Chamberlain New member

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