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I am not a native speaker. I have seen people at my place uses similar kinds of sentences interchangeably.

If he comes, only then I will go.

If he comes, then only I will go.

Which of these sentences is correct or appropriate if the desired meaning is that his coming is the required condition, not that a single person (me) will go?

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As so often happens with a "which is correct" question, those sentences are both syntactically correct, but they have different meanings. –  Mr Lister Jan 10 '13 at 14:20
    
it depends on what you are saying -- is the "only" modifying the condition that needs to be satisfied before you can go or the number of people who who will go? –  Dan Jan 10 '13 at 14:22
    
@Dan: modifying the condition, Not the number of people. –  Inquisitive Jan 10 '13 at 14:24
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@Inquisitive if you mean modifying the condition then you need "only then will I go." –  Dan Jan 10 '13 at 14:34
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A native speaker would say, "I'll only go if he comes [too]." –  Jim Jan 10 '13 at 14:45
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2 Answers

up vote 1 down vote accepted

"... then only I will go" is the structure that comes following the sentence structure of most Indian languages.

Such a structure is a kind of pseudo-regionalism which is commonly followed and correctly understood by the locals. However, it is incorrect to use the word order " then only" to convey the meaning you intend here -- "only then" is the correct phrase.

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If he comes, only then I will go.

If he comes I will go. If he does not come, I will not go. This might be better phrased "Only if he comes, will I go" for clarity.

If he comes, then only I will go.

If he comes, then I will be the only one to go.

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+1 for explaining the difference between the two statements. –  KeyBrd Basher Jan 11 '13 at 5:13
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protected by RegDwigнt Dec 10 '13 at 18:07

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