If, if, if, then.


There is an educational book that lists sentence "types" for primary aged children to add variety to their writing. One sentence type is called If, if, if, then. It goes like this. If we act quickly to find renewable sources of energy, if we make simple changes to our lifestyles, if we stop wasting valuable resources, then we can still save the planet.

My question is whether the first two commas are correct? I would have thought semi-colons would be more appropriate (in place of the coordinating conjunction and), and also as the first two dependent clauses seem to need that bit more of a pause. Or are the if clauses acting as a list of dependent clauses, so the comma is fine? I'm confused by this one as it doesn't feel right, but I can't figure out if there is one correct and one incorrect option here. Thanks for the feedback!

asked Aug 28 '14 at 22:38 Pete New member

1 answer


Thanks for the response Patty T. I can see how much better your construction is. For younger children learning how to write a persuasive speech, however, I can see the merit in the repetition of the word 'if'. Speech writers often engage this repetition to add impact. If this is the case (sadly of course I have to mark the written version), which way of punctuating would be more correct?

I could also potentially see it being quite impactful for a flashback opening. e.g. If I hadn't slept through my alarm; if I hadn't spilt milk down my top; if I hadn't made a desperate dash for the train, then I wouldn't be in this wretched situation now...

Any thoughts? And thanks again for the feedback!

link answered Aug 29 '14 at 20:45 Pete New member

Your question is like asking, "How do you correctly punctuate a run-on sentence?" You don't. Since the sentence is incorrectly constructed, it doesn't really matter which punctuation is used, does it?

Patty TAug 31 '14 at 12:56

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