Please help me with grammar! (SAT) urgent!?

(Through his novels Thomas Wolfe reveals to us both the pain and) the beauty of his boyhood in the American South.

I have to replace the brackets with a something suitable.

Wrong answer: Thomas Wolfe, through the medium of his novels, reveals to us both the pain with

Correct answer: (as it is) = Through his novels Thomas Wolfe reveals to us both the pain and

I can see why my answer is wrong because it sounds awful and unidiomatic BUT there is no comma after "Through his novels Thomas Wolfe" -->"Through his novels, Thomas Wolfe...etc."

Why is it acceptable to have no comma?

It's like "When dad came home he sat on the sofa" instead of "When dad came home, he sat on the sofa".

Please help

Please not too many "fancy" jargons :)

2 Answers

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  • 7 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    "Through his novels" is a brief prepositional phrase, and therefore, a comma is not necessary.

    Purdue OWL explains this nicely:

    "When to use a comma

    Introductory elements often require a comma, but not always. Use a comma in the following cases:

    After an introductory clause.

    After a long introductory prepositional phrase or more than one introductory prepositional phrase.

    After introductory verbal phrases, some appositive phrases, or absolute phrases.

    If there is a distinct pause.

    To avoid confusion.

    When not to use a comma

    Some introductory elements don't require a comma, and sometimes the subject of a sentence looks like an introductory element but isn't. Do not use a comma in the following cases:

    After a brief prepositional phrase. (Is it a single phrase of fewer than five words?)

    After a restrictive (essential) appositive phrase.

    To separate the subject from the predicate."

    In your case, "Through his novels" is a brief introductory prepositional phrase (fewer than five words), so it does not require a comma.

    In your other example, "When dad came home" is an introductory clause, so it does require a comma.

  • 7 years ago

    I asked Coach Morrill and he said "In your case there is no need to use a comma because there is not an independent and dependent clause in this instance".

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