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Source:http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/entertainment/english/movie-reviews/My-Big-Fat-Greek-Wedding-2/movie-review/52237316.cms

What is interesting about the film though is the radical difference in the ages of the cast members and of course the female characters, who do seem to have substantial roles and not just as embellishment.

Why comma after 'characters'?

It is not as 'who do seem to have substantial roles and are not just as embellishment'.It is because they are not saying women as embellishment.They mean roles which are substantial and not just (are as )embellishment.An 'are' is omitted.Am I right?

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    You are correct. The sentence is ungrammatical. "and not just as embellishment". To fix the error, we can add a verb phrase "... appear in scenes not just as embellishment" or "... and are not mere embellishment". May 30 '16 at 11:35
  • If we add the predicate "are" we need to remove "as" from the predicate complement or add a "there" to it: "..and are there not as mere embellishment" or "...and are employed not as mere embellishment" or "...and are not mere embellishment". May 30 '16 at 11:43
  • This sentence is an analogue of the grammatical/semantic problem in that quote: "He has a substantial debt...and not just as a trivial amount." May 30 '16 at 11:50
  • As shown in previous comments, the sentence is ungrammatical in several ways. It's not even entirely clear what it means. Never mind the comma; just try not to write sentences like that.
    – David K
    May 30 '16 at 13:06
  • I've read it four times, and I cannot for the life of me see why several people have pronounced it ungrammatical. It's a little unclear in its structure, but its meaning is clear, and it seems to me an example of a perfectly normal way of speaking, and of writing in informal contexts.
    – Colin Fine
    May 30 '16 at 18:17
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To illustrate the purpose of the comma, let me give you two examples:

  • We need to respect firefighters, who run into burning buildings to save people.

  • We need to respect firefighters who run into burning buildings to save people.

In the first example, the comma functions as a link between two ideas:

  1. We need to respect firefighters.
  2. Firefighters run into burning buildings to save people.

The subject of the second clause is "firefighters". You can combine both clauses into a single sentence, with "who" replacing the role of the subject in the second clause (as the subject has been presented, albeit as an object in the previous clause).

In the second example, the lack of a comma suggest an elaboration on the object, adding specificity. In other words:

We need to respect firefighters who run into burning buildings to save people.

...might be construed to read as:

We need to respect specifically those firefighters who run into burning buildings to save people.

In the case of your original quotation, the comma is provided so as to separate a new clause concerning the object in the original sentence (the female characters). Without it, I might read the sentence to suggest that there are other female characters in the film who do not seem to have substantial roles, and that it is only those that do who are interesting.

As for your second question (concerning "and not just as embellishment"), I have to say that the phrasing here is a bit awkward in American English. Perhaps if you would have presented this excerpt without saying it was part of a publication, I would say it was grammatically incorrect. There are two ways to rephrase this that are less ambiguous and sound more correct to me:

  • ...who do seem to have been cast as substantial roles and not just as embellishment.

  • ...who do seem to have substantial roles and are not just embellishments.

The alteration of structure in the first is due to the fact that "not just as..." seems to be a negation set to contrast an idea, and so the original statement should mirror this form. Other examples:

  • He was cast as the tin man and not as the cowardly lion.

  • You should write him the letter as a neutral party in the conflict and not as an ally.

You don't necessarily need to use "as" in the second clause of each of these examples. It can be omitted with no real change in meaning. However, I am not aware of an example in which you can use "not...as" in the second clause of a sentence without an original "as" to link the negation to, with the possible exception of idiomatic usage, as in the following example:

Everything was not as it seemed.

Hopefully, this answer was helpful to you.

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    +1 I agree with your analysis, with one minor different point. I think it's probably okay to read that clause as who do seem to have substantial roles and [as something important / the essence / the heart and soul (of the movie) / etc.] not just as embellishment. May 30 '16 at 8:08
  • When I say "Dog is running behind a man,wearing a pants" ,its unclear whether dog or the man is wearing the pants.But when I remove comma ,the ambiguity disappears.That's the beauty.Very lovely and very beautiful and very nice. May 30 '16 at 8:21
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    @AnubhavSingh You have the right idea. However, note that a few small words and punctuation can make a big difference in meaning. So (1.) "The dog is running behind a man, wearing pants" suggests, quite interestingly, that the dog is wearing pants. (2.) "The dog is running behind a man wearing pants" is something that is not grammatically incorrect but not grammatically clear-- in English, this could read that either character in the sentence is wearing pants. (3.) "The dog is running behind a man, who is wearing pants" uses "who", which in a sentence like this refers to the object ("a man"). May 30 '16 at 15:29
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The radical difference in the ages of the cast members and the substantial and non-embellishment female characters make the filem interesting.

the comma before "Who" is just to make readers to have a short period to breath... and makes the sentence more readable.

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  • Do not you mean the comma is used because that clause is a non-defining clause???
    – user33000
    May 30 '16 at 7:26

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