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Here is an example to explain my perplexity:

'I was walking home bringing the food back to my friends'

I was walking home=independent clause

bringing the food back to my friends=? where is the verb? there is no subject.

I want to know if these two parts can be joined together without a comma. (I was hoping the second part would be a phrase, but I don't think this example is).

Sometimes a comma is needed to have the clause joined to the phrase (or whatever this is) but what about in this case?

I know I can rewrite it so that it says, 'I was walking home to bring the food back to my friends'

But can it just be written, 'I was walking home bringing the food back to my friends'?

Whatever is the answer, can you please tell me why, or the rule.

Does it need a comma to be grammatically correct?

Thanks.
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Comments  
Yes, the second part is a phrase. A clause must have a subject and a finite verb.

I would use the comma and defer to others more versed in rules than I am for the why.
Thanks, a lot.

So, a phrase is when there is either a verb or a phrase, BUT not both.

I understand that. But is it still a phrase if there is no verb AND no subject?

Thanks for not leading me astray and recommending I seek someone else for more information

Thanks.
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I would use a comma. Participial constructions are normally set off by commas.

A clause only needs a verb; the subject can be left understood, as in all imperatives.
For example, Come here! is a clause, even though the subject 'you' is missing. It's understood.
(Actually, there are even clauses without verbs, but we won't get into that here as it is irrelevant to your question.)
In your case, you have a participial clause, and it's obvious that the subject of the main clause (independent clause) is understood as the subject of the participial clause ( I ). What may be confusing is that a participial clause is a "non-finite" clause, that is, it does not use an inflected form of the verb which marks tense.
CJ
Wow. you know your stuff! Thanks.

When you refer to a participle clause, like in my sentence, it is still a phrase though, correct?

A phrase can be a phrase when it lacks either a verb or a subject, OR both, correct?

And is the word bringing a gerund, which is making it a non-finite clause, which is why the sentenc sounds weird?

I think you may have answered my quandary!!! The ing verb form is, I think, what has confused me as to whether it can just be addeed onto the independent clause or if it needs a comma.

When do phrases not need to have a comma to be attatched to the main clause, or to any clause?

Thanks a million!
Hi,

Don't forget that commas help the reader to find the different parts of a sentence, and thus to understand the sentence more easily.

Consider a shorter sentence, like this. 'I was walking home smiling'. Here, the sentence is easily understood. I'd probably not use a comma.

But now consider a longer sentence, like the original, ie 'I was walking home, bringing the food back to my friends.' Here, I prefer a comma to help me to understand the sentence.

Best wishes, Clive
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Oh thank you! That is intersting to note!

So one does not always need a comma to separate the parts of a sentence, only if it is need for clarity...

When you say 'Don't forget that commas help the reader to find the different parts of a sentence', what do you mean by parts? Could you please tell me alll the different types of parts that a sentence can include. For example, clause (independent and dependent), phrases... What else.

OR are these all the types and commas are used to separate these three parts from one another?I'd love a reply to this!

Thanks
And also, when you said, 'a participial clause is a "non-finite" clause, that is, it does not use an inflected form of the verb which marks tense' do you mean that bringing shows no tense?

I thought it was present tense? Or is the ing form only present tense if it has an auxilary verb before it? The ing form isn't a verb if it doesn't have an auxilary verb preeceding it, correct?
Hi,
So one does not always need a comma to separate the parts of a sentence, only if it is need for clarity...

When you say 'Don't forget that commas help the reader to find the different parts of a sentence', what do you mean by parts? Could you please tell me alll the different types of parts that a sentence can include. For example, clause (independent and dependent), phrases... What else.

OR are these all the types and commas are often used to separate these three parts from one another? Generally speaking, yes.

Have a look here.
Sentence
Clause
Phrase

Clive
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