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Should a comma be used before 'then' when it's the last word in a sentence?

•Bob said, "If she goes, I'm not going, then."

The example below appears to be incorrect.

•Bob said, "If she goes, I'm not going then."

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2 Answers 2

The comma marks a distinction between two different uses of when.

Without the comma, then is understood as a temporal adjunct: “I’m not going at that time”.

With the comma, then is understood as a postposed conjunction: “I’m not going in consequence”.

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I think both are doubtful from a grammatical viewpoint. Certainly they both lack clarity.

As StoneyB indicates there are two different meanings involved here. If I wanted to mean 'not at that time' I would say 'If she goes, I'm not going at the same time'.

If I wanted to mean 'in consequence', I would say 'If she goes, then I'm not going'.

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