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In the sentence below, is the comma optional or should it (not) be there? I can hear it there when this is spoken, but I am not convinced it needs to be there in written form.

In order to pass [...] data protection, the customer must correctly answer [...]

As one could simply reorder the elements of the sentence:

The customer must correctly answer [...] in order to pass [...] data protection.

and no comma would be needed.

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closed as general reference by MετάEd, FumbleFingers, cornbread ninja 麵包忍者, tchrist, StoneyB Oct 2 '12 at 1:11

This question is too basic; it can be definitively and permanently answered by a single link to a standard internet reference source designed specifically to find that type of information.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

Hearing it should be your guide. Written language is a symbolic rendering of speech. Punctuation is a symbolic rendering of the flow of speech. –  bib Sep 6 '12 at 14:24
The fact that you can reorder or reword a sentence to use a certain punctuation tells you little about the proper punctuation of the original. At that point it's a different sentence. –  Jay Sep 6 '12 at 14:45
@WillHunting I agree it is not perfect, [pause] but it is often a pretty good guide. If anything, additional punctuation is often required to help organize longer, more complex thoughts, many of which are more convoluted than our nautral speech patterns [like this sentence]. But where there is a natural pause, some punctuation is almost always helpful. –  bib Sep 6 '12 at 15:07

2 Answers 2

up vote 3 down vote accepted

In the first sentence, it is good to have a comma but not wrong to omit it. In the second, there should not be a comma.

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When you use "in order to ..." clause at the beginning, you'd better use a comma before starting the main clause.

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This is a very short answer. It could be improved by adding supporting facts or references. Please see the faq. –  MετάEd Sep 8 '12 at 19:29

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