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I think there's a comma that's used when you are omitting the subject and verb (perhaps to avoid a run-on sentence, which would be ungrammatical).

Examples:

He felt good, like he was the king of the world.

(He felt good, he felt like he was the kind of the world.)

He said earnestly, with not the slightest hint of a smile.

(He said earnestly, he said with not the slightest hint of a smile.)

I have two questions:

  1. Is this the case? If not, what kind of comma is this?
  2. Are these sentences grammatically correct without the commas?
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  • 2
    We should note that a sentence like "He felt good, he felt like he was the king of the world" is technically a grammatical mistake called a comma splice because it is combining two complete sentences with just a comma between them. We sometimes write this way in informal writing, but it's technically considered an error.
    – stangdon
    Jan 28, 2021 at 15:28

1 Answer 1

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The commas in question are not omitting anything, because there is no he said or he felt necessary.

In the first sentence, like functions the same as as though -- it is an adverb clause modifying felt. Ask yourself, "How did he feel?" "Like he was..." That shows it's an adverb clause.

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  • So what's the function of the comma? Would the sentences be ungrammatical without it?
    – alexchenco
    Jan 28, 2021 at 15:44
  • The function of the comma is to introduce the dependent adverb clause (first example), or to introduce a long clause of additional information (second example). Jan 28, 2021 at 15:58

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