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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
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    Default With or without: THEN

    Hello,

    I read a sentence which I don't understand the structure. Here is the sentence:
    She spoke and I listened to her, because I was if I didn't (then) her voice would gradually fade away, an evanescent wraith of a thing that would narrow to a point of light go out, lost forever, like Tinker Bell if no one clapped for her.

    I would like to know if the word "then" is needed in the sentence. I put the word "then" in parentheses. If I don't need it, please, explain it to me.

    Thanks very much,

    SmilingTeapot

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
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    Default Re: With or without: THEN

    Quote Originally Posted by SmilingTeapot
    She spoke and I listened to her, because I was if I didn't (then) her voice would . . . .
    "If . . . , then . . . ." is a common construct:

    If this happens, then that will happen.

    'then' is often omitted because its semantic contribution can be picked up in context.

    Welcome.

  3. #3
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    Jul 2005
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    Default Re: With or without: THEN

    Thank you, Casiopea.

    In your example, there is a comma between the principal and the subordinate (a comma after the word "happens.")
    If this happens, then that will happen.
    I would like to know if I should add a comma after the word "didn't" in my sentence. Do I need a cooma after the word "I didn't?"

    Here is my sentence:
    She spoke and I listened to her, because I was afraid if I didn't her voice would gradually fade away [...]
    Smilingteapot
    Last edited by SmilingTeapot; 17-Jul-2005 at 23:00. Reason: mistakes in my post

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