threw me in a cage like an animal

azz 06/13/2018. 5 answers, 1.188 views
punctuation restrictive

a. They threw me in a cage like an animal.

b. They threw me in a cage, like an animal.

c. They threw me in a cage as they would an animal.

d. They threw me in a cage, as they would an animal.

The idea is not that they threw me in a cage in the manner they would throw an animal in a cage. The idea is that they threw me in a cage and that is what is done to animals.

Are the commas correct?

Are the commas necessary?

5 Answers

Tetsujin 06/13/2018.

a. They threw me in a cage like an animal.

Is just fine. Brief, to the point, not a lot of room for the reader to get the wrong message.
The others are still OK, but progressively less to the point.

Even though there is potential for confusion of intent, the overall imagery is simple enough to grasp at first read. Whether the reader considers the throwing to be animalistic or the act of caging is actually a bonus - you can mean both without hurting the sentence. Two for the price of one, you are conveying meaning about the captors & captive.

The sentence reads so naturally, that you would only hesitate if it had a 'surprise' ending...

They threw me in a cage like a box.

ahhh... right.
Now we're describing the cage, rather than how a postal worker would handle a package.
The original sentence is clear enough to avoid this type of mis-communication.

Mr Lister 06/13/2018.

The comma can be used to introduce a pause in the sentence. If the narrator only intended to say the first half at first, but then adds the second as an afterthought. In cases like that, you can even find

They threw me in a cage. Like an animal.

in literature.
Take note though that this would only occur if you want to emulate speech. It would not be correct if this was a sentence in something the protagonist was writing.

Jawel 06/13/2018.

The first one seems to be correct but its meaning is not what you want indeed.

They threw me in a cage like an animal.

The bold part is a prepositional phrase and refers to "throw" by indicating how that action is performed.

That sentence grammatically means:

They threw me in a cage and it made their action like an animal behaviour. Animals just do that, not humans.

So, if you want "like an animal" to indicate that the person thrown in a cage felt like an animal, then you can say:

They threw me in a cage as if I was an animal.

They threw me in a cage making me feel like an animal.

paulj 06/13/2018.

They threw me in a cage like an animal.

I read the above as they are treating you like an animal by putting you in a cage.


They threw me, as one would an animal, into a cage.

The method they put you in the cage was how one would throw an animal, not a human. I would also describe the type of animal.

a wild animal
a rabid dog

since certain animals are treated differently than others

user76758 06/13/2018.
They threw me in a cage, as what they would do, to an animal.

This according to me sound the most right according to the situation mentioned.

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