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According to my literature teacher, there is a comma error in this sentence in my report. My sentence, as I wrote it, reads:

"Henry spent much of his time outdoors, and at the young age of 12 he was already very interested in collecting and observing botanical specimens."

She noted the page and example number of the comma rule in the Writers Inc. grammar book. Here is what Writer's Inc. says:
"Use a comma after an introductory prepositional phrase: 'In the oddest places and at the strangest times, my grandmother can be found knitting madly away.'"

I don't know whether to treat "at the young age of 12" as a second introductory prepositional phrase, or what. The only thing i can think of that would fix this problem would be:
"Henry spent much of his time outdoors, and at the young age of 12, he was already very interested in collecting and observing botanical specimens."
But somehow that doesn't seem right. If anyone could help me it would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.
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What about?

. . . at the young age of 12, he was already very interested in collecting and observing botanical specimens."
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Hello g

Your first version in your last post is what your teacher wants.

Your 2nd version sounds a little awkward.

Your 3rd version isn't as good: the '12' phrase sounds tagged on.

An alternative would be to introduce a semi-colon:

"Henry spent much of his time outdoors; at the young age of 12, he was already very interested in collecting and observing botanical specimens."

MrP
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Comments  
So, by this do you mean to keep the first part of the sentence as well and with the comma?

Do you mean:
Henry spent much of his time outdoors, and at the young age of 12, he was already very interested in collecting and observing botanical specimens.

or should I omit the first comma and say:
Henry spent much of his time outdoors and at the young age of 12, he was already very interested in collecting and observing botanical specimens."

Another question--
would it be correct for me to just rearrange the sentence to read:
"Henry spent much of his time outdoors, and was already interested in collecting and observing botanical specimens at the young age of 12." ?
I think you've rightly divided two independent clauses with a comma. Placing a comma after "12" is optional, if you ask me.

Punctuation convention is not my strong point, however.
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 MrPedantic's reply was promoted to an answer.
I would have written, "Henry spent much of his time outdoors and, at the young age of 12, he was already very interested in collecting and observing botanical specimens. "

At least, that is what the voices of various Sisters of St. Joseph are whispering in the recesses of my mind!