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Journal Chacham's Journal: Verbiage: "If..then" and a comma 4

In Is Switching Jobs Too Often a Bad Thing?, mrchaotica posted a comment about the term "could care less". I agreed with him wholeheartedly, and felt like responding. At first i was going to find some nonsense way that "could care less" was indeed more appropriate, when i realized he used "if..then" with a comma.

So, i mimicked his post with a reply, which he responded to with some research.

Well, as i said in my reply to that one, i sent an email to Purdue University's Writing Lab with the following query:

<URL:> states: If you answer "yes" to one or more of these questions, then the element in question is nonessential and should be set off with commas.

It is my belief that either the comma or the word "then" is redundant. Which is ironic given the question it is in context of, "If you leave out the clause, phrase, or word, does the sentence still make sense?"

I understand that it is still correct to use both a comma and the word "then". I would like to hear your opinion however, or if i am incorrect, an explanation therefore.

I received the following reply:

Thank you for your inquiry. Actually, you need both the comma and then. The comma sets of a dependent clause (starting with "if") from the independent clause (starting with "the"). "Then" must be used because it is part of the "if . . . then" construction.

Please contact us again.


What can i say, i disagree.

Update: I knew i had this before. Finally found it.

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Verbiage: "If..then" and a comma

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  • What can i say, i disagree.

    Accept the facts. If you disagree, you're wrong.
    • That was a joke, BTW -- as if someone disagreeing with you making your very point right there in his expression of disagreement. It was funnier last night.
  • I really hate "I could care less," too. I couldn't care less if it occasionally has accurate usage, or whatever other defenses its practitioners could cook up. I hate it.

Reality must take precedence over public relations, for Mother Nature cannot be fooled. -- R.P. Feynman