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Here’s a simplified version of the sentence I'm working on.

Despite what he believed — or thought he believed — he still had to contend with the truth.

Or should I use commas?

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Ugh. I don't think those spaces should be surrounding your em dashes. getitwriteonline.com/archive/091502enem.htm – Spehro Pefhany Jun 23 '14 at 5:24
I had a feeling something was wrong about the formatting. I won't use spaces. Thanks. – Subtle Array Jun 23 '14 at 17:19
up vote 5 down vote accepted

There is no rule that prohibits the use of or to isolate clauses in your interrupting phrase:

A word group (a statement, question, or exclamation) that interrupts the flow of a sentence and is usually set off by commas, dashes, or parentheses.

Note: there are rules for using dashes, parentheses, and commas. See parentheses vs. double commas vs. dashes for additional details.

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Thank you very much. – Subtle Array Jun 23 '14 at 3:10

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