Should there be a comma after the "then" in the following sentence?

If things get more complicated, then, when the others arrive, we'll need to put in more effort.

If there a comma there makes sense, why should it be there? I feel like there should be a stop there, but it looks very weird to me.

  • 1
    "...when the others arrive..." is parenthetical so should be surrounded by commas to indicate that fact. The comma which can and should, to my mind, be removed is the one before "then" as it is confusing and unnecessary. It does not mark a separate concept and there is no pause when the sentence is spoken.
    – BoldBen
    Apr 20 at 2:00
  • If things get more complicated, we'll need to put in more effort when the others arrive. Apr 20 at 2:43
  • This question/answer suggests Strunk and White say no comma after the conjunction i.e. after "then" (the question asks about coordinating conjunctions but the rule seems to be more general). However I have to say it's one of many things in Strunk and White that don't seem right to me, and I'd prefer to omit the comma before then, or both around the parenthetical expression (i.e. either BoldBen or Tinfoil Hat's suggestions). english.stackexchange.com/questions/11248/…
    – Stuart F
    Apr 20 at 12:52
  • I see. Thanks for all the info and suggestions! I'll go take a look at that thread. Didn't realize there was already a question so similar to what I wanted to know. Apr 20 at 19:02

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.