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    #1

    Reverse if statement. Are commas required?

    Copied from a grammar website:


    Which is correct:
    Please contact the registrar's office at your campus, if you have any questions about dropping course(s) or withdrawing from the college.
    or
    Please contact the registrar's office at your campus if you have any questions regarding dropping course(s) or withdrawing from the college.
    Source of Question, Date of ResponseOld Westbury, New York Wed, Apr 14, 2004 Grammar's ResponseThe adverbial clause beginning with "if" is essential to the meaning of your sentence, so you definitely do not want to set it off with a comma. Whether "about" is better than "regarding," I leave to your judgment, but can't we just say "courses" and forget about that parenthetical "(s)"?

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    My questions for UsingEnglish.com:

    Is the answer correct? Specifically, is the reason the comma should be dropped to identify the clause as restrictive? No other reason?

    Also, if you reversed the clauses to read, "If you have any questions, please contact the registrar's office", would there be a comma between the clauses, as I've placed it? Why or why not?

    Thank you,

    Donna


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    #2

    Re: Reverse if statement. Are commas required?

    Yes, the respondent is correct.
    Don't put a comma after the main clause when a dependent (subordinate) clause follows it (except for cases of extreme contrast).
    1. She was late for class because her alarm clock was broken.
    2. The cat scratched at the door while I was eating.

    Compare:
    3. She was still quite upset by the criticism of her acting, even though she had just won the Oscar. (correct: extreme contrast)


    2. Use commas after introductory a) clauses, b) phrases, or c) words that come before the main clause.
    If you have any questions, contact the registrar.

    Common starter words for introductory clauses that should be followed by a comma include after, although, as, because, if, since, when, while.
    While I was eating, the cat scratched at the door.
    Because her alarm clock was broken, she was late for class.
    If you are ill, you ought to see a doctor.
    When the snow stops falling, we'll shovel the driveway.


    (Courtesy, Purdue Uni.)

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    #3

    Re: Reverse if statement. Are commas required?

    Quote Originally Posted by David L. View Post
    Yes, the respondent is correct.
    Don't put a comma after the main clause when a dependent (subordinate) clause follows it (except for cases of extreme contrast).
    1. She was late for class because her alarm clock was broken.
    2. The cat scratched at the door while I was eating.
    Compare:
    3. She was still quite upset by the criticism of her acting, even though she had just won the Oscar. (correct: extreme contrast)


    2. Use commas after introductory a) clauses, b) phrases, or c) words that come before the main clause.
    If you have any questions, contact the registrar.

    Common starter words for introductory clauses that should be followed by a comma include after, although, as, because, if, since, when, while.
    While I was eating, the cat scratched at the door.
    Because her alarm clock was broken, she was late for class.
    If you are ill, you ought to see a doctor.
    When the snow stops falling, we'll shovel the driveway.

    (Courtesy, Purdue Uni.)
    But nowadays we see violations of this rule frequently. I often see a comma before "because" to indicate a pause inside the sentence. Is it again the conflict between prescriptive and descriptvie grammar?


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    #4

    Re: Reverse if statement. Are commas required?

    Can you give an example?

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    #5

    Re: Reverse if statement. Are commas required?

    Quote Originally Posted by David L. View Post
    Can you give an example?
    Really long ago my student asked me about the use of a comma before "because". I explained that although traditional grammarians tell us never to use it, sometimes we need it to indicate a pause inside the sentence. At that time I was just speaking from my instinct. Just now I keyed in "comma because" and googled it and found some buddies supportive of my claim. Here's a post at Comma before because:
    'Because' normally introduces a dependent clause, and dependent clauses are normally restrictive, hence taking no comma. When sentences and their clauses get too long, however, a comma may be necessary for clarity.
    On the same webpage, there's another post by someone anonymous:
    I came across the following example on the internet, which neatly demonstrates why you often need to think about the contents of your statement before you decide:
    I knew that President Nixon would resign that morning because my sister worked in the White House and she called me with the news.
    Without the comma, the sentence might suggest that President Nixon resigned because my sister worked in the White House. I think this example makes sense. And we can find numerous such examples elsewhere and anywhere.

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