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I think I may nearly have got commas, but am not sure.

Should a comma be used whenever it resolves an equivocation?

What about the following:

  • She got angry with him, ignoring his stupidity

The possible equivocation seems obvious. And I can't think of it meeting any definition of a parenthetical phrase. But I'm not sure if the end phrase is ungrammatical so needs a rewrite instead.

  • Yes, the comma helps clarify. However, to be perfectly clear I might have said "Ignoring his stupidity, she got angry with him". – WS2 Jan 25 '18 at 10:17
  • thanks @WS2 and my version is grammatically ok? – concerned Jan 25 '18 at 10:20
  • Yours is ok, but even by adding the comma it still does not 100% free the sentence of ambiguity. Ie. Who was doing the ignoring, him or her? – WS2 Jan 25 '18 at 15:22
  • oh ok that as the entire point of the comma! @WS2 – concerned Jan 25 '18 at 16:02
  • Uh… Pardon? @WS2… How could that possibly mean the one doing the ignoring was him? Either way if the comma clearly does reolve an ambiguity that would otherwise remain yes, it should be used. – Robbie Goodwin Feb 7 '18 at 1:37
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Definitely correct and the comma is needed. The -ing form of the verb is a "gerund" in this sentence. They are tricky. The entire phrase functions as a noun, in this case, providing additional information about the subject 'She'. Within the phrase, it functions as a verb and may take object and adverbs.
As to your question, 'Should a comma be used whenever it resolves an equivocation?', the answer is, "Yes! ... Always!"

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  • Ignoring his stupidity was a clever move. That's a gerund. Ignoring his stupidity, she got angry with him. That's a participle. – KarlG Jan 25 '18 at 13:12

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