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I am using a grammar software and it constantly tells me to use commas before what I think is an adverbial phrase at the end of a sentence (and thus is not predceded by a comme). An example:

"First, the minimal levels were specified assuming unlimited resources."

In this senctence, the grammar software is adding a comma before "assuming". Is this correct? What is the reason?

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Well, it is because the sentence already makes sense without the non-finite -ing participle clause - assuming unlimited resources. You have all the information in the main clause - First, the minimal levels were specified.

Assuming unlimited resources modifies the entire clause, but you used -ing participle clause instead of normal sentential relative clause.

What I want to write to you is that you used non-finite clause that performs the same function as sentential relative clause (in this case).

Thanks to -ing participle you made the sentence shorter and more formal. It is correct.

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  • Thank you. So it is actually not an adverbial phrase but an adverbial clause (verb "assuming" + implied subject)? And since it is non-defining a comma is required? Jun 3 at 14:33
  • No, it is just a comment clause and we put commas before comment clauses, because they have a superior role to the sentence elements --> We cannot ask any question to identify them. It would be adverbial, if you were able to ask question Where? How? Why? and the answer would be "assuming unlimited resources". Be also careful that when something function as a sentence element, it is often expressed by means of the clause. You can also create sentential relative clause from your subordinate clause that is why I was talking about it, but sentential realtive clauses also work as comment...
    – Vojta_HU
    Jun 3 at 14:45
  • ...clauses, but you have to use which and finite verb. It's hard to me to explain it, because I don't know your level of English. Maybe try this link, if you still don't understand my explanation. thoughtco.com/what-is-comment-clause-1689872
    – Vojta_HU
    Jun 3 at 14:47
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Or it can be clasified just as a Comment clause, but sentential relative clauses often function as a comment clauses, that is why there has to be comma.

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