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Allexkramer432
09-18-2017, 06:20 PM
I am wondering when you are grammatically supposed to use commas with multiple prepositional phrases. I know there are times where ambiguity is not a problem. However, for curiosity purposes, I would like to know when and if you need to use commas between prepositions. An example is below.

Hard shakes flow throughout the floors and halls of the facility all the way to the center control room where lighting flickers around a man.

Or would it be

Hard shakes flow throughout the floors and halls of the facility, all the way to the center control room, where lighting flickers around a man.

Maryn
09-18-2017, 07:21 PM
Interesting question. I know where I'd put a comma but not what rule makes me want to put it there. Without rephrasing, I'd write it:

Hard shakes flow throughout the floors and halls of the facility all the way to the center control room, where lighting flickers around a man.

You can anticipate replies telling you the best solution might be finding another way to say the same thing without stringing together so many prepositional phrases. That's what I'd probably do, something like:

Hard shakes flow throughout the floors and halls of the facility. In the center control room, lighting flickers around a man.

Allexkramer432
09-18-2017, 07:32 PM
Interesting question. I know where I'd put a comma but not what rule makes me want to put it there. Without rephrasing, I'd write it:

Hard shakes flow throughout the floors and halls of the facility all the way to the center control room, where lighting flickers around a man.

You can anticipate replies telling you the best solution might be finding another way to say the same thing without stringing together so many prepositional phrases. That's what I'd probably do, something like:

Hard shakes flow throughout the floors and halls of the facility. In the center control room, lighting flickers around a man.

I have thought of doing it your way, splitting the two sentences apart. However, I like the idea of the sentence being one because it gives the sense of the shakes traveling through the setting to where the man stands. Additionally, the only reason I listed it with the commas where I did was because I could of sworn that I read somewhere that multiple prepositional phrases must be separated with commas with they align in a specific order or sequence. For example, "She hurried through the woods, over the hill, down to grandmas." But, I do not know if this is an actual rule in situations where ambiguity is not a problem.

cornflake
09-18-2017, 07:49 PM
You're conflating different things. The first should take a comma where Maryn put it, though that's not sound, btw.

The example you're citing in your second post --


She hurried through the woods, over the hill, down to grandmas.

takes the commas there because 'over the hill,' is unnecessary. It also should have an apostrophe with grandma's, presumably.

Not for nothing, btw, but you have 'could of,' in your post, which makes angels weep.

Allexkramer432
09-18-2017, 09:07 PM
You're conflating different things. The first should take a comma where Maryn put it, though that's not sound, btw.

The example you're citing in your second post --



takes the commas there because 'over the hill,' is unnecessary. It also should have an apostrophe with grandma's, presumably.

Not for nothing, btw, but you have 'could of,' in your post, which makes angels weep.

Maybe I should change "throughout" to "through". That is an honest mistake. What I'm trying to convey is one thing: The shakes are flowing through the halls and into the control room, where the man is standing. Basically a linear progression of movement. In the second example, I thought the commas were there because it described her hurrying through those places in that order. If it did not have the comma, it could've meant the woods that are over the hill.

I did find this page, which talks about the use of commas when there is a series of prepositional phrases.
http://englishplus.com/grammar/00000074.htm

Allexkramer432
09-18-2017, 09:24 PM
You're conflating different things. The first should take a comma where Maryn put it, though that's not sound, btw.

The example you're citing in your second post --



takes the commas there because 'over the hill,' is unnecessary. It also should have an apostrophe with grandma's, presumably.

Not for nothing, btw, but you have 'could of,' in your post, which makes angels weep.

On a second read of that page and some like it, I realize that I took that the wrong way. They are meaning a series in which the prepositional phrases can stand alone, like a list. Basically, if you don't understand already what I'm trying to figure out, I am saying I want to know how to punctuate a sequence of movement that occurs in a specific order.

cornflake
09-18-2017, 10:14 PM
On a second read of that page and some like it, I realize that I took that the wrong way. They are meaning a series in which the prepositional phrases can stand alone, like a list. Basically, if you don't understand already what I'm trying to figure out, I am saying I want to know how to punctuate a sequence of movement that occurs in a specific order.

I'm confused -- there's no sequence in a specific order.

Hard shakes flow throughout the floors and halls of the facility all the way to the center control room where lighting flickers around a man.

The bolded is a single thing. The facility shakes; there's shaking felt throughout the facility. Whatever way you say it, it doesn't seem to be a sequence of events.

Allexkramer432
09-18-2017, 10:38 PM
I'm confused -- there's no sequence in a specific order.

Hard shakes flow throughout the floors and halls of the facility all the way to the center control room where lighting flickers around a man.

The bolded is a single thing. The facility shakes; there's shaking felt throughout the facility. Whatever way you say it, it doesn't seem to be a sequence of events.

"Sequence" might not have been a good word to use. The point is of the shakes flowing throughout the floors and halls and into the center control room. Maybe it is a bad example. What did you mean by conflating two things then? What two things are given off? Also, theoretically, if I wanted to present a sentence that would show the movement of an item (noun of any kind) through different places, how would I do that grammatically? For example, "The giant rock rolled down the hill, over the creek, and then into a large tree." Does that sound unambiguous? I'm not saying that the hill is over the creek; I'm trying to say that the rock is going down the hill then over the creek and then finally into a large tree.

cornflake
09-18-2017, 10:49 PM
"Sequence" might not have been a good word to use. The point is of the shakes flowing throughout the floors and halls and into the center control room. Maybe it is a bad example. What did you mean by conflating two things then? What two things are given off? Also, theoretically, if I wanted to present a sentence that would show the movement of an item (noun of any kind) through different places, how would I do that grammatically? For example, "The giant rock rolled down the hill, over the creek, and then into a large tree." Does that sound unambiguous? I'm not saying that the hill is over the creek; I'm trying to say that the rock is going down the hill then over the creek and then finally into a large tree.

Yeah, that's fine. I was saying the example you were using was not the same as the original sentence. Neither is this one. This and the one with grandma's house both feature unnecessary phrasing, which is offset with commas.

Allexkramer432
09-18-2017, 10:59 PM
I realize that now, but this last example was simply an additional question provided in response to your feedback on the "grandma" sentence. Now, I guess I'm having trouble understanding how the center phrase set off by commas in each is "unnecessary". I do not mean for them to be modifying in the way that they are affecting the subject before it; "the woods" or "the hill". I'm meaning that the phrase in the middle is simply another step in the items movement, from one place to the other, almost like a series. So in that regard, are you saying you understand that meaning of it and that they are still set off by commas because the are unrestrictive to the sentence grammatically, or are you saying that in the way that those phrases are actually modifying "the woods" and "the hill"?

Additionally, you are confirming that "Hard shakes flow through the floors and halls of the facility all the way to the center control room, where lighting flickers around a man." is the best way to punctuate? Is it completely a bad idea to put the comma after facility?

cornflake
09-18-2017, 11:01 PM
I mean they're unnecessary.

She hurried through the woods, over the hill, down to grandma's.

She hurried through the woods down to grandmas.

Bob, a native of Bobville, stood 6'3.

Bob stood 6'3.

Some modifying clauses are unnecessary.

Allexkramer432
09-18-2017, 11:04 PM
I apologize for the late edit. I went back and added things to my reply. I will paste here.


Additionally, you are confirming that "Hard shakes flow through the floors and halls of the facility all the way to the center control room, where lighting flickers around a man." is the best way to punctuate? Is it completely a bad idea to put the comma after facility?

Allexkramer432
09-18-2017, 11:07 PM
I mean they're unnecessary.

She hurried through the woods, over the hill, down to grandma's.

She hurried through the woods down to grandmas.

Bob, a native of Bobville, stood 6'3.

Bob stood 6'3.

Some modifying clauses are unnecessary.

The reason I am so hung up on this is because I am probably overthinking it and thinking that someone might think that I am saying the woods that are over the hill or maybe even the facility that is all the way to the center control room. Of course, these are still just examples.

cornflake
09-18-2017, 11:11 PM
The reason I am so hung up on this is because I am probably overthinking it and thinking that someone might think that I am saying the woods that are over the hill or maybe even the facility that is all the way to the center control room. Of course, these are still just examples.

The facility IS all the way to the control room and beyond, by its nature. The sentence says THROUGH the facility all the way to the control room.

If you said the sound of the rooster echoed through the house all the way to the kitchen would you worry someone thought the house was all the way to the kitchen, whatever that even means?

Bufty
09-18-2017, 11:22 PM
The facility IS all the way to the control room and beyond, by its nature. The sentence says THROUGH the facility all the way to the control room.

If you said the sound of the rooster echoed through the house all the way to the kitchen would you worry someone thought the house was all the way to the kitchen, whatever that even means?

I think it means the rooster was carried all the way through the house to the kitchen and then had its neck wrung, or of course it could mean the rooster had its neck wrung outside and the sound carried all the way in through the windows to the kitchen, or the rooster had its neck wrung inside upstairs and the sound carried out through an open window then down and back in through the front door and all the way through the rest of the house to the kitchen, or.... :snoopy:

Allexkramer432
09-18-2017, 11:24 PM
The facility IS all the way to the control room and beyond, by its nature. The sentence says THROUGH the facility all the way to the control room.

If you said the sound of the rooster echoed through the house all the way to the kitchen would you worry someone thought the house was all the way to the kitchen, whatever that even means?

Woah! I think I just have my mind all twisted up today! This is what happens when you overthink a lot of things. Anyways, moving on. Final question: so what function would a comma have being after facility? Will it change the meaning of the sentence in any way? Or does it sound completely better without and has no difference grammatically?

Bufty
09-18-2017, 11:28 PM
Woah! I think I just have my mind all twisted up today! This is what happens when you overthink a lot of things. Anyways, moving on. Final question: so what function would a comma have being after facility? Will it change the meaning of the sentence in any way? Or does it sound completely better without and has no difference grammatically?

But that was the second option you had in your opening post. :Shrug:

Allexkramer432
09-18-2017, 11:28 PM
You all will learn that I overthink things way too much in writing. For my real life job, I am in technical writing. Thus, everything I write has to follow a strict order. It is extremely formal and so forth. So you could understand how this affects my transitioning into writing fiction in my spare time.

Allexkramer432
09-18-2017, 11:31 PM
But that was the second option you had in your opening post. :Shrug:

It was, but I am just wondering now about the differences it would make for the reader.

AW Admin
09-18-2017, 11:33 PM
Woah! I think I just have my mind all twisted up today! This is what happens when you overthink a lot of things. Anyways, moving on. Final question: so what function would a comma have being after facility? Will it change the meaning of the sentence in any way? Or does it sound completely better without and has no difference grammatically?

You've moved beyond asking a basic question to what's rapidly approaching a critique. This isn't the place for that.

When you've got 50 substantive posts you can post an excerpt of your writing in Share Your Work (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?26-Share-Your-Work).