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    #1

    Only if - coma or not?

    On the paper sheet my teacher has given me, there is a sentence :"Only if you serende her, can you win her heart."
    Isn't that wrong, isn't it that there should be no coma in this sentence (and in the similar ones as well)?
    Dear folks, I am an ESL student so don't ever hesitate to correct me, even the slightest details!

  1. Boris Tatarenko's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Only if - coma or not?

    Hello.

    As far as I know we should put a comma after "if clause" if the "if clause" comes first.

    If he's late, I'll hit him.
    I'll hit him if he's late.

    Not a teacher nor a native speaker.
    Please, correct all my mistakes. I should know English perfectly and if you show me my mistakes I will achieve my dream a little bit faster. A lot of thanks.

    Not a teacher nor a native speaker.

  2. Matthew Wai's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: Only if - coma or not?

    Quote Originally Posted by Fear not, only believe View Post
    "Only if you serende her, can you win her heart."
    I think there should be no comma because the subject and the auxiliary are inverted.

    Not a teacher.

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    #4

    Re: Only if - coma or not?

    I agree with Matthew.

    And it is "serenade".

    not a teacher

  3. Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: Only if - coma or not?

    Quote Originally Posted by Matthew Wai View Post
    I think there should be no comma because the subject and the auxiliary are inverted.

    Not a teacher.
    Right. The sentence is backwards. Diagram it. The more usual way to say it would be: "You can only win her heart if you serenade her."

    So it's not an if/then construction. Don't use a comma.
    I'm not a teacher. I speak American English. I've tutored writing at the University of Southern Maine and have done a good deal of copy editing and writing, occasionally for publication.

  4. Matthew Wai's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: Only if - coma or not?

    How about 'You can win her heart as long as you serenade her'?

    Not a teacher.

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    #7

    Re: Only if - coma or not?

    Putting the "only if you serenade her.." in front is a form of exhortation to a guy to move into action.
    The effect would be different if you put "serenade" at the back.

    not a teacher
    Last edited by tedmc; 19-Apr-2015 at 15:02.

  5. Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: Only if - coma or not?

    Quote Originally Posted by Matthew Wai View Post
    How about 'You can win her heart as long as you serenade her'?

    Not a teacher.
    It's a different meaning. The idiom as long as does not mean if.

    By the way, let's get something clear here:

    A COMMA is not a COMA!

    Fear Not, please look up both words!
    I'm not a teacher. I speak American English. I've tutored writing at the University of Southern Maine and have done a good deal of copy editing and writing, occasionally for publication.

  6. Matthew Wai's Avatar
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    #9

    Re: Only if - coma or not?

    Quote Originally Posted by Charlie Bernstein View Post
    The idiom as long as does not mean if.
    But it means 'only if', which might fit the sentence.

    Not a teacher.

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    #10

    Re: Only if - coma or not?

    I've already done the very same mistake with comma and coma. And have received a funny reply. Serende, on the other hand, is an obvious typo.
    Dear folks, I am an ESL student so don't ever hesitate to correct me, even the slightest details!

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