If you could...

June 27th, 2008

... then what?

This is a short rant about a really minor irritation that’s kinda funny.

One of my little pet peeves is when someone begins a request with “if you could”. For example, “if you could pass the salt….” The request invariably trails off with no resolution. It bugs me, so if I’m in a devilish mood I’ll stare at the person (usually my wife) expectantly until eventually prompting them with “yes, then…? If I could pass the salt then what?”

The thing is, I write code for a living, so when I hear or see the word “if”, my brain immediately starts compiling the statement. If there’s no “then”, my brain will raise a syntax error.

Funny thing is that I find myself saying this too, much to my chagrin. But it’s everywhere – I hear it in movies, talking to my neighbors, you name it. So, as a public service announcement, please, for the sake of the English language that we leave for our children, please remember to close your if statements.

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