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I should acknowledge that I asked this question in learner's site but I haven't got any helpful response; furthermore, I hold that this is a complex grammatical matter, so that is why I'm repeating this question Can we use a causal adverbial clause in the second part of a sentence? if so, I wonder if I want to use an adverbial clause of causality in the second part of a sentence, should I use a comma before the adverbial clause? For instance, can contract this sentence

Individuals sometimes find themselves drowned in a mountain of tasks since they procrastinate their non-essential yet needed-to-be-done-someday duties to the last minute.

to:

Individuals sometimes find themselves drowned in a mountain of tasks procrastinating their non-essential yet needed-to-be-done-someday duties to the last minute. I would also really appreciate it if you could provide me with some explanation.

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    'To contemporary native speakers, many of whom will only be familiar with the intransitive [usage] of the verb, being confronted with a transitive procrastinate will likely seem grammatically incorrect or at best archaic. Certainly a revival of the transitive use should only be attempted in a higher register and not by forcing the intransitive to take an object. If you don’t want to do the dishes or clean out the basement, you’d best be advised to postpone, delay, or simply put off the task rather than procastinate the doing or cleaning.' ...May '18 @KarlG // Use '... tasks, putting off ...'. May 6, 2020 at 12:06
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    procrastinate, v.t.: postpone, put off, defer; prolong. Now rare (SOED, 1995 ed.)
    – LPH
    May 6, 2020 at 13:02
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    Putting aside the slightly "marked" transitive verb usage (which I flagged up on the original ELL post), the since version forces a "causality" relationship. But the continuous participle just implies correlation (which is not necessarily causality :) May 6, 2020 at 13:40
  • ... and a comma after 'tasks'. May 6, 2020 at 13:59
  • The use of tasks procrastinating sounds like this: … find themselves drowned in a mountain of tasks [that are] procrastinating. It's grammatical, but it certainly doesn't mean what you want it to mean. In the real world, tasks don't procrastinate, people do. May 6, 2020 at 17:29

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I am sorry that you received no reply from the learners' site. It would have been a lot easier to answer there

Individuals sometimes find themselves drowned in a mountain of tasks since they procrastinate their non-essential yet needed-to-be-done-someday duties to the last minute.

As Edwin Ashworth has pointed out, the transitive use of "procrastinate" sounds very strange to British English ears - I would avoid it, although it may be different in American English.

Your example seems to be unnecessarily wordy. We can simplify it to

we sometimes find ourselves in trouble since we procrastinate our duties to the last minute.

Having done this, we can see that the example is not idiomatic. This then requires correction:

we sometimes find ourselves in trouble because we put off doing things until the last minute.

Now we can use this for the second example:

we sometimes find ourselves in trouble putting off doing things until the last minute.

Now we can see that "putting off doing things until the last minute" is a gerund phrase and (i) cannot modify anything, and (ii) has no clear subject or link to the main clause, which is "we sometimes find ourselves in trouble".

We can correct this by adding "by" to form a gerundive adverbial phrase:

we sometimes find ourselves in trouble {by putting off doing things until the last minute.}

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  • Adding by forces the "causal" relationship (in one specific direction), but imho that doesn't mean the utterance is syntactically invalid without it (or some other explicit "linking" term such as when, after, through,...), which syntax could be seen as "agnostic" regarding the existence and/or direction of any causal relationship. May 6, 2020 at 13:52
  • Thank your Greybeard for your elaborate and perfectly helpful answer!
    – Ali Sirous
    May 6, 2020 at 14:10
  • And do we need to always put a comma before this specific type of clause when used in the second part of a sentence?
    – Ali Sirous
    May 6, 2020 at 14:15
  • As the second part of the sentence, "No", but as the first part - By putting off doing things until the last minute, we sometimes find ourselves in trouble. - it requires a comma after it. This is also true of "Because we put off doing things until the last minute, we sometimes find ourselves in trouble."
    – Greybeard
    May 6, 2020 at 14:25
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Yes, we can use a causal adverbial clause after the main clause.

No, we cannot use a reduced causal adverbial clause after the main clause—with or without a comma.

In these examples, I have swapped in delay for procrastinate (which, as others have noted, is not used as transitive verb). For clarity, I have swapped in because for since (because since also has a non-causal sense). I have swapped in the more idiomatic preposition until for to. And needed should be need.

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Here is the causal adverbial clause at the beginning of the sentence—before the main clause. In this position, it is followed by a comma:

Because they delay their non-essential yet need-to-be-done-someday duties until the last minute, individuals sometimes find themselves drowned in a mountain of tasks.

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Here is the causal adverbial clause at the end of the sentence—after the main clause. In this position, it is not followed by a comma:

Individuals sometimes find themselves drowned in a mountain of tasks because they delay their non-essential yet need-to-be-done-someday duties until the last minute.

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Here is the reduced causal adverbial clause at the beginning of the sentence—before the main clause. In this position, it is followed by a comma:

Delaying their non-essential yet need-to-be-done-someday duties until the last minute, individuals sometimes find themselves drowned in a mountain of tasks.

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Here is the reduced causal adverbial clause at the end of the sentence—after the main clause. This is incorrect:

*Individuals sometimes find themselves drowned in a mountain of tasks delaying their non-essential yet need-to-be-done-someday duties until the last minute (incorrect)

Why is this incorrect? Because now the reduced clause functions as a reduced relative clause; it's adjectival—modifying the noun tasks. Here is the oddity unreduced:

Individuals sometimes find themselves drowned in a mountain of tasks that are delaying their non-essential yet need-to-be-done-someday duties until the last minute.

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If we add a comma, we get something that is structurally viable, but does not display any causal effect and changes the meaning:

Individuals sometimes find themselves drowned in a mountain of tasks, delaying their non-essential yet need-to-be-done-someday duties until the last minute.

There we have a feat of asyndeton, the comma having replaced the and that would coordinate two objective complements for themselves (that is, they find themselves drowned and they find themselves delaying):

Individuals sometimes find themselves drowned in a mountain of tasks and delaying their non-essential yet need-to-be-done-someday duties until the last minute.

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See also: Reducing Adverb Clauses with "while"

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