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Are these sentences grammatically correct?

1- Parents should set aside some time to interact with their children, which helps them to be more sociable.

Is using comma before "which" OK?

2- Helping children to be more sociable, parents should set aside some time to interact with them.

Are all the bold words OK ( in aspect of their spot in the sentences? )

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    The comma is fine, and so are your pronouns. However, you need to use the infinitive to introduce your second sentence.
    – JMB
    Nov 14, 2021 at 11:32
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    The second doesn't seem idiomatic to me. If a continuous particle adverbial clause is "fronted" like this, it normally implies at the same time (adverb of time conveying concurrency), rater than in order to (adverb of purpose conveying intention). More idiomatically, it should be an infinitive-based adverbial: [In order] To help children be more sociable, parents should... Nov 14, 2021 at 12:39

1 Answer 1

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The first sentence is grammatically correct. The relative clause ("which helps them to be more sociable") is nonrestrictive (it can be removed from the sentence without a significant change in meaning), so it should be set off by the comma.

(Note that you could make the relative clause restrictive: "Parents should set aside some time to interact with their children that helps them to be more sociable." However, that sentence has a somewhat different meaning.)

Also, I'll point out that even though the pronoun "which" is adjacent to its antecedent (the phrase "time to interact with their children"), it is a bit far from the head of that phrase (the noun "time"); the sentence might therefore be improved with some rephrasing.

The second sentence is also OK. Some grammarians might not like the fact that the pronoun "them" is plural while the nearest plural noun before it is "parents", which is not its antecedent. However, the correct antecedent ("children") should be clear to the reader, so I think that most people would consider this fine.

However, I think that the syntax of "helping children to be more sociable" implies a meaning that you didn't intend. I might rewrite it thus: "In order to help children be more sociable, parents should set aside some time to interact with them." (I just saw FumbleFingers' response and noticed that he makes a similar point.)

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  • Are these also correct? 1- Parents should set time aside to interact with their children, helping them to be more sociable. Nov 14, 2021 at 15:28
  • @MahdiKhabbazi Yes, that is grammatically correct. However, I still think that using "in order to help . . ." is best, because that makes the meaning even clearer. Nov 14, 2021 at 15:33
  • thank you, I just wanted to know using ing form in order to reduce the relative clause is ok? Nov 14, 2021 at 15:36
  • @MahdiKhabbazi Yes, with "helping" you've created a present participle phrase. Nov 14, 2021 at 15:50

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