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I am unsure if the word "therefore" is called a linking adverb.

I have the following sentences. Which version is grammatically acceptable?

  • My preference, therefore, is to travel by train

  • My preference is, therefore, to travel by train.

Should "therefore" be separated by a comma?

(I want to use "therefore" in the middle of the sentence. I know it can be used in the beginning and end of a sentence.)

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Both seem OK to me. –  GEdgar Mar 9 '12 at 1:20
    
I thought this had something to do with keeping the subject and the verb together. In the first example in my post, the subject and the verb are separated by "therefore". –  Adhesh Josh Mar 9 '12 at 1:55
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5 Answers 5

up vote 4 down vote accepted

Both sentences are technically grammatically correct. The first sentence using "therefore" before the copula flows better because the verb phrase remains more intact.

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I think it does flow a little better with the verb after the therefore.

My preference, therefore, is your first option.

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I think they are both grammatical. Be sure that this sentence follows one that gives the reason for the preference to travel by train. And, yes, commas should be on either side of therefore.


You are correct that therefore is a linking adverb. It is more specifically a result/inference linking adverbial.

http://www.tesl.iastate.edu/510/F04/comp/handouts/cohesion.pdf

Excerpt from that link: Result/inference linking adverbials demonstrate to readers that the following textual element is the result or consequence of the previous information. A few examples of result/inference linking adverbials are

  • consequently
  • thus
  • as a result
  • hence
  • so
  • therefore
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First one seems more acceptable at first sight:

"My preference, therefore, is to travel by train"

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OP himself says "I want to use 'therefore' in the middle of the sentence", so it's fair to assume he's familiar with the concept of authorial choice. In this example, placement of the word "therefore" makes no difference whatsoever to actual meaning (though it would slightly odd to put it at the end of the sentence). There's no "rule" or recognised "style guide" involved here.

In terms of what choices other writers have made in similar contexts, I just checked Google Books for a slightly more common word. Sticking to C21 to reduce the impact of outdated contexts, "decision is therefore" gets 1260 hits, as against 384 for "decision therefore is".

My advice is therefore to go with the majority, but OP should note he has a free choice here.

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