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my problem sentence is the following:

After completion, or due to termination, the car picks up the crew members and flies them back to the moon.

I would like to make those commas as I put them above. I just can't figure out the rule for this.

My suggestions is that "after completion" and "due to termination" are adverbial clauses. Adverbial clauses are dependent clauses working as an adverb. "After" or "due to" are the subordinating conjunctions that begin the adverbial clause. An dependent clause, or in this case, an adverbial clause at the beginning of the sentence is seperated by a comma.

However, I need to clarify why there is no subject in the adverbial (i.e., dependent) clause: is it omitted? Also, there is no verb in the adverbial clause. There is a subordinating conjunction and a noun?

The other question is why I need to seperate the two adverbial clauses with commas.

Thank you very much for any answer!

  • 1
    They are not clauses, but preposition phrases functioning as a coordination of temporal adjuncts. – BillJ Sep 27 '17 at 11:26
  • I understand that "after + noun" is a preposition phrase, but would you negate that it is at least an adverbial phrase in that it modifies a verb? – Sebastian E Sep 27 '17 at 13:19
  • Okay, so according to: en.oxforddictionaries.com/grammar/adverbials-and-adjuncts, it would be an adverbial adjunct, right? Because you can leave it out, so it is not an adverbial (phrase). In any case, do I need the commas or not? – Sebastian E Sep 27 '17 at 13:40
  • I prefer the term 'adjunct' to 'adverbial' for such modifiers. You could say that the PPs modify the verb, but I think it is better to say that they are adjuncts in clause structure. I'd say that the comma between the PPs is optional, but the one before "the car ..." is required. – BillJ Sep 27 '17 at 14:02
  • I think you’re over-engineering something much more simple. Can you really see a difference between that and After termination, or due to completion… please? Either way (something happens but that can’t matter) can it? My suggestion is that only if After completion and due to termination are not only different but somehow contradictory, they might need that first comma; else, they don’t. – Robbie Goodwin Sep 28 '17 at 20:26

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