Commas With 'In order to'

When starting a sentence with "in order to", add a comma after the introductory phrase. In mid-sentence, commas are generally unnecessary.

When using "in order to" at the beginning of a sentence, use a comma after the introductory phrase.

In order to answer that question, we must first understand the specific context.

In mid-sentence, commas are generally unnecessary.

You need a bachelor's degree in education in order to be a school teacher.

"In order to" is a compound preposition that has an infinitive as its object (e.g., "in order to learn"). It introduces an adverbial infinitive phrase (e.g., "in order to achieve success"). You can use it at the beginning or in mid-sentence.

You need to develop a research protocol in order to perform an appropriate study.

In order to perform an appropriate study, you need to develop a research protocol.

'In order to' at the beginning of a sentence

When starting a sentence with "in order to", add a comma after the introductory phrase.

In order to obtain reliable results, you should implement a method that reduces random errors.

In order to obtain reliable results you should implement a method that reduces random errors.

The comma is optional if the introductory phrase is short (no more than four or five words).

In order to win you must be prepared to lose.

Commas in mid-sentence

When using "in order to" in the middle of a sentence, commas are generally unnecessary.

The budget has increased in order to improve the highway transportation system.

But there are situations where commas are required. For example, use them to add nonessential information or interrupt the sentence flow:

John studied for five hours, in order to ace the exam, and then went to bed.

Include commas when using a series of phrases or infinitives as well.

A solution must be found in order to prevent conflicts, reduce the current levels of unemployment, and reach a consensus.

Using 'To' Instead of 'In order to'

You can always replace "In order to" by "to". Follow the same comma rules in this case.

They formed an alliance to explore the Arctic.

They formed an alliance in order to explore the Arctic.

What's the difference between "to" and "in order to"? "In order to" is more formal. It is also considerably more common in writing than in speaking.

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