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For example, if I want to pause in speech, which way is better:

I {a very long adverb phrase} realized | that English is so useful but not easy to master.


I {a very long adverb phrase} realized that | English is so useful but not easy to master.

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Note that the first so shouldn't be there. – SLaks Mar 27 '11 at 20:16
up vote 2 down vote accepted

Many other people have answered, there is no need to pause in that sentence, either before or after the word that, and they are correct.

However, you may of course want to pause in that sentence - perhaps for emphasis, or to catch your breath, or simply to let your listener catch up...

In that case, you should pause before the "that": the word "that" introducing a subordinate clause belongs with the clause it introduces:

I recently realized | that English is so useful but not easy to master.

Putting the pause after "that" would sound a little strange (though often people do pause at that point, usually when they're trying to think of what to say next :)

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There is no need for a pause in that sentence.

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Come to that, there is no need for that in that sentence. But do I think very would be more common than so in this utterance. – FumbleFingers Mar 27 '11 at 17:44
@FumbleFingers: I would counter that that actually does a pretty good job in this sentence. Sure, you could remove it and still be correct. Personally, though, I'd keep it. Sounds more natural that way, to me at least. – Jimi Oke Mar 28 '11 at 0:10
@Jimi Oke: well you're certainly correct now OP's sentence has been edited to include a very long adverb phrase. Given that, I'd keep the word. Except in a declamatory delivery (heartfelt speech, maybe), where I might replace the word by an exagerated pause before the 'final punchline'. – FumbleFingers Apr 2 '11 at 22:59

In speech, I would generally say neither as long as you're using "that". In normal speech I don't think there would be an appreciable pause neither before nor after the word "that" in such a construction.

If you omit the word "that", then it would be appropriate to pause (briefly) in the place where the word was omitted.

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No; if you pause, you should have a comma. However, a comma would not be appropriate in this sentence, as it would be dividing the verb and the object unnecessarily.

"I realized, that...." -- awkward

"I realized that, English..." again, awkward.

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English conjunctions are associated with what follows them. If you're going to pause next to such words as that, and, and or, you should pause before rather than after. That said, as other answers mention, there is no real need for a pause in this sentence, except perhaps if you were speaking slowly and thoughtfully.

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