we will send you the replacement products [,] free of charge

better_in_time

Senior Member
Chinese, Thai
I saw the two sentences below in my textbook. Both are from response letters to complaint letters. I wonder why comma is used before "free of delivery charge" in the first sentence but is not used in the same fasion in the second.

We will send you the remaining MP3 players immediately, free of delivery charge.

We will send you the correct items free of delivery charge.
 
  • Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    Hello, better_in_time. :)

    In the first sentence, they are promising to do two things:
    We will send you the remaining MP3 players immediately.
    We will send you the remaining MP3 players free of delivery charge.
    When they combine the two sentences, they divide the two parts of their promise -- immediately and free of charge -- with a comma.
    We will send you the remaining MP3 players immediately, free of delivery charge.
    In the second sentence, they are promising only one thing: when they send the correct items, it will be free of charge.
    We will send you the correct items free of delivery charge.
    If they thought of it as two different ideas -- (1) send the correct items (2) free of charge -- they could show that by using a comma. It would be something like saying, "We will not only send you the correct items but we will also send them free of charge."
    We will send you the correct items, free of delivery charge.
    In the second sentence, there is a certain amount of choice according to what you mean. With the comma, it looks like they think sending the correct items is something special as well as sending it free of charge. Without the comma, sending the correct items is something everyone knows they will do, but "free of charge" is something special.

    At least, that is my view.
     
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