I want to know if I can use 'then' with first conditional sentences. For example.

If you want to learn anything, then read a lot of books in the same field.

  • 2
    Yes you can. In US English, when the sentence is constructed as "if ..., then ..." you can include "then" or leave it out. Both are correct. The comma indicating a pause, implies "then" in this case. "if you want to learn anything, read a lot..." is equally correct as "if you want to learn anything, then read a lot...". – Edward Barnard Sep 20 '19 at 17:00
  • @EdwardBarnard Would it then be appropriate to say that the use of "then" in an "if" clause is redundant, as you say the comma does the job itself? I personally have never used "then" in such instances. – AIQ Sep 20 '19 at 19:15
  • @AIQ - Yes redundant but I hear it both ways. Usage varies from person to person in the same region, so I'm not sure if it's a regional difference. Software development, mathematics, etc., use if / then / else constructs, so it's quite possible that sort of usage encourages a speaker to use "then" in casual usage as well. But this is speculation on my part. – Edward Barnard Sep 20 '19 at 19:36

I want to know if I can use 'then' with first conditional sentences.

The answer is yes, you can. But as Edward Barnard and I both pointed out, the "then" is redundant (at least in your example sentence). Sometimes less is more. This is one of those times. Your sentence would be just as great and valid, if not more, without the "then" in there.

But in general, I won't dare say that the use of "then" in an "if-then" conditional sentence is unnecessary. It depends on the context. "Then" can be used in these conditional sentences to add emphasis, to make complex ideas/statements easy to follow, and to maintain one's own style of writing.

There are two great questions in ELU that elaborate on this very exact topic.

This question in ELU has some great comment-section discussion and an answer that brings together a set of example sentences where the use of "then" is required/appropriate. This other one is useful too.

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