Comma use


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.


Thank you.

punctuation asked Jul 16 '12 at 18:26 Patsy Inglet New member

Thank you. I will leave the comma in the sentence.

Patsy IngletJul 16 '12 at 18:59

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1 answer


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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