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Because he moved the adverbial four thousand years too late, which is normally in the last part, before to take the credit for atomic theory?

I was sitting outside a restaurant in Spain one summer evening, awaiting dinner. The sun was setting and daylight slipped away below the horizon, the air became still, and the aroma of the kitchens tantalized my taste buds. My future meal was coming to me in the form of molecules drifting through the air, too small for my eyes to see but detected by my nose. The ancient Greeks first came upon the idea of atoms this way; the smell of baking bread suggested to them that small particles of bread existed beyond vision. The cycle of weather reinforced this idea: a puddle of water on the ground gradually dries out, disappears, and then falls later as rain. They reasoned that there must be particles of water that turn into steam, coalesce in clouds, and fall to earth, so that the water is conserved even though the little particles are too small to see. My paella in Spain had inspired me , four thousand years too late, to take the credit for atomic theory.

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    The phrase "four thousand years too late" is parenthetical here, so the author separated it out with commas.
    – gotube
    May 9, 2023 at 3:10

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A parenthetical clause is information that may be interesting or useful, but not essential to the sentence.

The writer's main expression is:

My paella in Spain had inspired me to take the credit for atomic theory.

The additional expression, that he felt this inspiration was "four thousand years too late" is just an amusing aside.

Parenthetical information may be contained within commas (as in your example, where they may be referred to as parenthetical commas), or in parenthesis, commonly known as brackets (as I am using here).

My paella in Spain had inspired me (four thousand years too late) to take the credit for atomic theory.

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