Here are a few quotes that may or may not be faithful to their authors, in which the subject is a noun clause ending in a verb followed by a comma:

"What can be shown, cannot be said."

"What gets measured, gets managed."

"That knowledge which stops at what it does not know, is the highest knowledge."


"To tell a woman what she may not do is to tell her what she can."

Using a comma seems like a courtesy, for it helps the reader parse the sentence. But it does not seem necessary.

What do the various style guides say about this? Have any linguists weighed in (eg, Pinker)?

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    These are attempts to punctuate the intonation contour that separates the complex noun phrase and its predicate. There is an intonation contour separating them. But it's not quite the same contour as the one usually represented by the comma. After all, there are thousands of possible intonations and only a few punctuation marks with conflicting rules for use. A native speaker might well understand this; but until you can hear the rhythm and tones, a single , will not help much. – John Lawler Oct 13 '16 at 2:04
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    Thanks. Inclined to agree but, has it been studied? Isn't this a good question for psycholinguistics? – zadrozny Oct 13 '16 at 13:43

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