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I'm not a native english speaker, so I have this doubt. For example I have these two sentences:

At the time of taking the family picture she was next to her father

Or:

She was next to her father at the time of taking the family picture

or I could write it both ways

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    A comma would be needed after the second prepositional phrase in your first example. Dec 31, 2017 at 21:01
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    Both are grammatical. The comma is discretionary. when the family picture was taken would be less wordy and more idiomatic than "at the time of taking the family picture". Further, at the time of taking might be understood to mean that she was the photographer, not that she was posing for the photo next to her father.
    – TimR
    Dec 31, 2017 at 21:06
  • Sorry for asking again, but if I want to write something more polite what choice you would recommend me. thanks beforehand
    – RodrigoM
    Dec 31, 2017 at 21:25
  • @RodrigoM: I don't see how politeness is involved in any way. Can you explain?
    – TimR
    Jan 1, 2018 at 2:50
  • it's just that I'm writting a book and I don't know which is more colloquial and which is more formal
    – RodrigoM
    Jan 1, 2018 at 4:18

2 Answers 2

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There is no rule to fix the position of "at the time of".

Both your examples are fine.

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At the time of taking the family picture[,] she was next to her father.

She was next to her father at the time of taking the family picture.

I usually place a comma for example (1) type of construction, as what I have done here.

Adverb placement is quite flexible. Both of your examples are fine, but they may have a slight difference in meaning.

[Adverbs of time] usually go in end position.

They sometimes go in front position especially if we want to emphasise the adverb.

I’m flying to Edinburgh tomorrow.

Today, I’m going to clean the house.

[Cambridge Dictionary explains adverb placement]. (https://dictionary.cambridge.org/grammar/british-grammar/adverbs-and-adverb-phrases-position)

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  • A comma is definitely a good idea, because you might think it was going to turn out to be a sentence like "At the time of taking, the family picture was intended for her grandmother" or "At the time of taking, the family picture was an important part of any holiday". Seeing a comma after "picture" provides an immediate clue as to the sentence structure (just as a comma after "taking" would indicate the opposite).
    – Stuart F
    Aug 8, 2023 at 15:06

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