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I have a sentence of the form "If X, A will B and C will D," and there is some disagreement of how to punctuate it.

On one hand, it is a dependent clause followed by two independent clauses connected by a coordinating conjunction. In this case, there should be a comma before the "and"

On the other hand, it is a conditional clause followed by a list of effects. Since there are only two effects, a comma would be unnecessary.

How should the sentence be treated? Which punctuation is correct?

Sources would be especially appreciated.

Here is an example sentence:

If John goes to the party, Mary will bake a cake (,) and Bob will be unhappy.

closed as unclear what you're asking by Drew, user140086, curiousdannii, NVZ, tchrist Jun 4 '16 at 4:40

Please clarify your specific problem or add additional details to highlight exactly what you need. As it's currently written, it’s hard to tell exactly what you're asking. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • @Rathony I don't get what you don't get? OP specifically said before the "and". Also it is their first question. And asking for a source is a good thing, not a bad one! I have put the notional comma in to help people who don't understand the question. – Araucaria Jun 1 '16 at 8:18
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No comma.

Consider the two options:

If John goes to the party, Mary will bake a cake and Bob will be unhappy.

If John goes to the party, Mary will bake a cake, and Bob will be unhappy.

Option 2 looks like a list of three items: on first glance, it looks like you're telling us that the three things are going to happen. Option 1 is more obviously a conditional: it has the form "if X, then Y", where X is "John goes to the party" and Y is "Mary will bake a cake and Bob will be unhappy"

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