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Should I set off the phrase "if you will" at the end of sentence with a comma? I can't seem to find this in any of the grammar and punctuation sites. It seems to be widely used. I come across it in my transcription work frequently.

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If you're looking for Something In A Grammar Book, then this would probably fall under the general rule that many recommend of using commas to separate off what we might loosely call "sentence adjuncts" or phrases that, if they were removed, would not greatly affect the meaning of the sentence.

Or in other words, it would probably fall under the same general rule that recommended separating off the words "however" or "unfortunately" etc. from the rest of the sentence in a case such as:

I am, however, not entirely sure that this is the outcome we want.

Unfortunately, David will not be there.

The government's new Green Bill is failing, as it were, to see the wood for the trees.

Otherwise:

  • what do you think looks and feels best?

  • if you Google the phrase "if you will" for examples of how others use the phrase, what do they tend to do with respect to punctuation (and do you feel their decision is sensible/easy to read)?

  • Yes. It's certainly a pragmatic marker (separate from the proposition put forward in the matrix sentence), and of the subcategories 'easing conversational flow / seeking positive feedback' (the term 'hedge' also fits). Many of these parentheticals, especially those with more than one word, are set off with commas. – Edwin Ashworth Apr 2 '14 at 21:51

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