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Why is a comma used there?

English grammar help. Grammar questions from ESL learners

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Why is a comma used there?

Postby pdh0224 » Wed Oct 06, 2004 9:59 pm

Dear teacher,

Robert Bigelow, who heads an aerospace company in Nevada, has announced a $50 million "Bigelow Prize" for launching a vehicle into orbit by the end of the decade. And NASA announced last June that it had created a "Centennial Challenges" office to sponsor competitions to solve some of the persistent problems of space exploration, with prizes in the millions of dollars, although the details are still sketchy.

Q : Why is the comma used before "with.."? I think it doesn't need to be used because the phrase "with prizes...dollars" modifies "solve" as an adverbial phrase. What do you think?

All the best, :)
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Postby Alan » Thu Oct 07, 2004 3:32 am

No, the comma is there because 'with...dollars' refers back to the earlier phrase 'has created...office'. Of course the adverbial in this case is not instrumental but a more loosely related phrase specifying the concomitant conditions/circumstances of the act (i.e. similar to saying 'with regard to which which there will be prizes...').
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