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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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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
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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.

2 Answers

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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