In the sentence below, is the comma optional or should it (not) be there? I can hear it there when this is spoken, but I am not convinced it needs to be there in written form.

In order to pass [...] data protection, the customer must correctly answer [...]

As one could simply reorder the elements of the sentence:

The customer must correctly answer [...] in order to pass [...] data protection.

and no comma would be needed.

  • 1
    Hearing it should be your guide. Written language is a symbolic rendering of speech. Punctuation is a symbolic rendering of the flow of speech.
    – bib
    Sep 6, 2012 at 14:24
  • The fact that you can reorder or reword a sentence to use a certain punctuation tells you little about the proper punctuation of the original. At that point it's a different sentence.
    – Jay
    Sep 6, 2012 at 14:45
  • @WillHunting I agree it is not perfect, [pause] but it is often a pretty good guide. If anything, additional punctuation is often required to help organize longer, more complex thoughts, many of which are more convoluted than our nautral speech patterns [like this sentence]. But where there is a natural pause, some punctuation is almost always helpful.
    – bib
    Sep 6, 2012 at 15:07

2 Answers 2


In the first sentence, it is good to have a comma but not wrong to omit it. In the second, there should not be a comma.


When you use "in order to ..." clause at the beginning, you'd better use a comma before starting the main clause.

  • This is a very short answer. It could be improved by adding supporting facts or references. Please see the faq.
    – MetaEd
    Sep 8, 2012 at 19:29

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