comma after 'therefore' [adverb]: not say a lot, therefore a slightly

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Azimat

Senior Member
Italian
Is it really necessary to always put a comma after therefore in the middle of a sentece ?

For example :

"This definition does not say a lot, therefore a slightly more elaborated version would be appreciated."

"He is strong, therefore he must be a likely candidate."

Is it so wrong to write such a sentence ? Do I must write it this other way:

"This definition does not say a lot, therefore, a slightly more elaborated version would be appreciated."

"He is strong, therefore, he must be a likely candidate."

I know that a comma is suggested after and before therefore, but I prefer the first sentence because the second one puts too much emphasy on "therefore".
 
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  • Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    I would go so far as to say that a sentence such as "He is strong, therefore, he must be a likely candidate." does not have an unnecessary comma after therefore, but has a wrongly-used comma after therefore.
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    If you place "therefore" between two commas, you mark "therefore" as being an unnecessary element of the sentence between "bracketing commas".
    I can assure you, therefore, that two commas are required in this sentence.​
    See what happens if I remove the bit between commas:
    I can assure you that two commas are required in this sentence.​
    Oops - bad example, but I hope you see what I mean. The sentence is a valid sentence without the two commas and the text between them.

    Now look at the topic sentences.
    "This definition does not say a lot a slightly more elaborated version would be appreciated."
    "He is strong he must be a likely candidate."​

    Those will not do at all.
     

    wandle

    Senior Member
    English - British
    "This definition does not say a lot, therefore, a slightly more elaborated version would be appreciated."
    "He is strong, therefore, he must be a likely candidate."
    The punctuation of these two examples is wrong. However, it is nothing to with the word 'therefore'.
    It is because there are not two sentences here, but four. The correct punctuation is:

    "This definition does not say a lot. Therefore, a slightly more elaborated version would be appreciated."
    "He is strong. Therefore, he must be a likely candidate."

    Each sentence needs a capital letter at the beginning and a full stop at the end!
     

    Azimat

    Senior Member
    Italian
    The punctuation of these two examples is wrong. However, it is nothing to with the word 'therefore'.
    It is because there are not two sentences here, but four. The correct punctuation is:

    "This definition does not say a lot. Therefore, a slightly more elaborated version would be appreciated."
    "He is strong. Therefore, he must be a likely candidate."

    Each sentence needs a capital letter at the beginning and a full stop at the end!
    Thank you very much for the explanation. What if I use the semicolon ?


    "This definition does not say a lot; therefore, a slightly more elaborated version would be appreciated."
     

    wandle

    Senior Member
    English - British
    The semicolon is a valid way to link two sentences together; therefore it is a correct option here.

    Please note: in the above case, a comma after 'therefore' is not required.
    However, in the following case, commas are needed:

    The semicolon is a valid way to link two sentences together; it is, therefore, a correct option here.

    (If I had noticed this point earlier, I would have put no commas after 'therefore' in my post 7.)
     

    boozer

    Senior Member
    Bulgarian
    I agree with Wandle, post 7, and KB, post 9. Those are 4 completely independent sentences that have to be punctuated either will full stops or semicolons. :)
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    Alternatively, if you find "He is strong. Therefore he must be a likely candidate." and "He is strong; therefore he must be a likely candidate." too abrupt, as I do, the sentence can as well be written "He is strong, and therefore he must be a likely candidate."
     

    Einstein

    Senior Member
    UK, English
    "This definition does not say a lot; therefore, a slightly more elaborated version would be appreciated."
    doesn't it break the thought? i'd use a comma after "a lot", IMHO
    "Therefore" refers to the second half of the sentence. If you use only a comma after "a lot", "therefore" seems to be a parenthesis in the entire sentence, as has been said with other examples.

    Another way of seeing it: the sentence has two clauses that could also be stand-alone sentences:
    a) This definition does not say a lot.
    b) A slightly more elaborated version would be appreciated.
    To link them, a comma is not enough; we need either a semi-colon or a conjunction. "Therefore" is not a conjunction but an adverb, so also the semi-colon is necessary.

    PS: I forgot to say this earlier, but in the above sentence I see no reason to put a comma after "therefore".
     
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