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George groaned and curled into a ball, struggling for breath.

Do I need a comma after ball ? If so why? Is struggling for breath a gerund or a participle. I assume it is a participle, an adjective modifying George. What do you think?
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Hi,

George groaned and curled into a ball, struggling for breath.

Do I need a comma after ball ? If so why?

It depends on your intention.

Without one, it sounds like the ball was struggling for breath. Since the ball was George, that is not an invalid meaning.

With one, it sounds like the adjective is intended to modify 'George'. This would be a more common way to form the sentence, ie with the comma.

Is struggling for breath a gerund or a participle. The latter.

I assume it is a participle, an adjective modifying George. What do you think?

Best wishes, Clive
Comments  
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Ducks1160George groaned and curled into a ball, struggling for breath.

Personally, I think a comma is preferred but since the phrase is short, it would be ok without. "Struggling for breath" is a participle clause (modifying) describing George's physical state: "groaned and curled into a ball".

Being chased by a pack of angry dogs and bitten a couple of time at his ankles. George barely managed to esacpe by jumping up to an iron fire escape ladder hanging down from an apartment building after running for a few blocks.

Gerund

Particple
It's certainly not a gerund because it's not being used as a noun. In this case, I would say it's a participle that you're using as an appositive. As it's not necessary to understand the rest of the sentence, I would use the comma.