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This is hard to explain, so I'll show an example:

(a) You should do your home work and, if you have more extra time, you should also prepare for exams.

In this case, "if you have more extra time" is the parenthetical clause. If you remove it, the sentence still makes sense:

(b) You should do your home work and you should also prepare for exams.

We could also write the sentence like this (note the "and" is inside the parenthetical):

(c) You should do your home work, and if you have more extra time, you should also prepare for exams.

This time, we have two complete sentence:

(d1) You should do your home work.

(d2) If you have more extra time, you should also prepare for exams.

(I'm sure there are better examples. But I just came up with a quick one to illustrate.)

So in this case, "if you have more extra time" can be both a parenthetical clause and belong to an independent clause (complete sentence). Am I right?

  • Your more extra time isn't very idiomatic. You should probably use more free time or more spare time. – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica Nov 1 at 12:52
  • In your first exemple, "if you have time" is a PP with "if" as head. It serves as the protasis, and "you should also prepare for exams" is the apodosis. – BillJ Nov 1 at 12:53
  • I have edited your question to assign letters to the sentences so its easier for us to point to any of them when writing an answer. – AIQ Nov 1 at 23:07
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Assuming that what's inside the comma pairs is parenthetical, then it's grammatical status is debatable, but its conventional use is wrong because of the punctuation.

When analyzing a sentence, do so by removing the parenthetical information. In the specific example here, the following is the result:

You should do your home work, and if you have more extra time, you should also prepare for exams.

Or:

You should do your home work you should also prepare for exams.

Except that most people would object to that, saying that either you need to add some kind of a conjunction (in this case, the conjunction was inside the parentheses and so isn't a consideration of the surrounding text), or it should be punctuated in some way.

In short, possibilities include the following:

You should do your home work and you should also prepare for exams.
You should do your home work; you should also prepare for exams.
You should do your home work. You should also prepare for exams.


There isn't necessarily anything ungrammatical about the version of the sentence without the additional punctuation (assuming it's thought that punctuation doesn't strictly impact grammar), but it's certainly strange and would cause people to want to tweak it so it makes more sense.

So, in theory, the sentence could be analyzed as fine in both instances of the punctuation. But it's likely that, because of this issue, at least some people would object to having the conjunction inside the comma pair. In short, if using the example in the question, the short answer to the question would be something like, "Yes, using a forced interpretation, but it would be unusual."


In fact, the examples of (d1) and (d2) apply more appropriately to the first version of the sentence than to the second.

With the second version (assuming conventional punctuation), the if you have more extra time text is part of the parenthetical text and doesn't belong with a second independent clause.

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You should do your home work and, [if you have more extra time, you should also prepare for exams].

Preliminary point: the commas are optional not obligatory.

The bracketed bit is a conditional construction where the clause that is complement of if is the protasis (the condition) followed by the apodosis (the outcome of the condition being met).

The if PP is sufficiently integrated into the structure of the clause so as not to be analysed as a supplement.

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