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I am having trouble figuring out if any of the following sentences is grammatically correct:

(A) People perceive him as manipulative, and therefore do not trust him.

(B) People perceive him as manipulative, and therefore not trusting him.

(C) People perceive him as manipulative, therefore not trusting him.

I understand the "and" is a conjunction and generally connects two independent clauses, but what about "and therefore"? If "and therefore" functions as a conjunction, then (A) would be incorrect because "do not trust him" is not an independent clause. Is this correct?

(B) and (C) also look suspicious to me, but I can't explain why.

3 Answers 3

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Therefore is defined in [Merriam-Webster] as:

[Adverb] for that reason : because of that

Therefore, it is not a conjunction which doesn't require a coordinate conjunction such as "and", "but", etc. In otherwords, you need to use a conjunction or semi-colon before therefore to complete a sentence.

People perceive him as manipulative, and therefore (people) do not trust him.

The above sentnece is the only one which is grammatically correct as there is "and" as a conjunction and "people" is omitted as it is repeated. "(people) do not trust him" is an independent clause.

Or:

People perceive him as manipulative; therefore, they do not trust him.

In (B) and (C), they don't work as "and therefore not trusting him" and "therefore not trusting him" are not independent clauses.

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  • Thank you for the answer! Wouldn't (C) be correct since "therefore" is an adverb as you have pointed out? Since I am not using "and" in (C), I don't think I need an independence clause after the comma, right? To me "not trusting him" seems like some additional information which describes "People".
    – HNG
    Oct 25, 2015 at 4:03
  • @HNG Some people call "therefore, however, etc." a "conjunction adverb." The reason is that it is different from normal adverbs. It cannot be used in a "participial construction", which means it has to lead a clause where there must be a subject and a verb.
    – user140086
    Oct 25, 2015 at 4:24
  • You need parallel verb forms. The first way is already covered in (A). The other way, using participle form, turns the whole thing into a noun phrase: "[People perceiving him as manipulative, and therefore not trusting him]---- [do X]. Oct 25, 2015 at 7:35
  • The Times and Collins consider it acceptable to have an ing-clause after 'therefore': They are trying to do too much and therefore not doing anything properly. [Times, Sunday Times (2009); Collins Dictionary]. The deletion here is of 'and therefore [they are] not doing'. But as Brian says, lack of parallelism is a problem in example (C). Though participial clauses can attach to a variety of main clauses. Dec 28, 2022 at 15:42
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Connecting two independent clauses is not the only function of the word "and." Among its various uses, it is also used to connect two(or more) subjects, predicates, ideas, etc. see: https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/and

In the sentence: "People perceive him as manipulative and do not trust him." the "and" is connecting the two predicates "perceive him..." /"do not trust him" and adding a comma would be wrong there.

Consequently, I don't see a reason to place a comma before the "and" in the original sentence either. If adding the word "therefore" I would place the commas around that word, as in: "People perceive him as manipulative and, therefore, do not trust him."

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I believe that a comma should appear before the word and, and after the word therefore, because after the word therefore, there is a soft pause. A soft pause usually indicates that a comma should be used after the soft pause in a sentence. Here is how I believe the sentence should be written: "People perceive him as manipulative, (soft pause) and therefore, (soft pause) do not trust him."

I am guessing that I am probably wrong about this.

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  • Hi. Please take the tour and read about good answers, and you'll be able to improve this answer.
    – Davo
    Aug 12, 2020 at 11:35

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