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Apologies if this is a dumb question, but I need it answering.

I have this sentence:

During my time at school, I volunteered to help assist a student in class in order to stay focused and not get into trouble.

Now, is the phrase "in order to stay focused and not get into trouble" additional information, or is it essential to the meaning of the sentence?

The sentence does, however, make sense when you remove the additional information, so does this mean there should be a comma before "in order to stay"?

Thanks.

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    Preliminary question: who is to stay focused and out of trouble; the student or you? – BillJ Apr 10 at 9:48
  • The student - now you mention it, the sentence does seem a bit confusing. – Carl Apr 10 at 9:52
  • That's fine. "In order to stay focused and not get into trouble" is a purpose adjunct (as opposed to a complement). The core proposition is your volunteering to help assist a student in class. The adjunct is non-restrictive. No comma is required. Note that an adjunct is grammatically optional, but that doesn’t mean that it is not necessary to convey the intended meaning. – BillJ Apr 10 at 10:05
  • Thanks for that - so would you reword the sentence? – Carl Apr 10 at 10:22
  • Probably: one possibility is: "I volunteered to help assist a student in class in order that they stay focused and not get into trouble". Alternatively, with a bare infinitival, as in "I volunteered to help assist a student in class stay focused and not get in trouble". – BillJ Apr 10 at 10:32

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