Which of the sentences below is correct if I want to strongly emphasize that the pencil is not is not white?

  • This is a black instead of a white pencil.
  • This is a black, instead of a white, pencil.
  • This is a black—instead of a white—pencil.
  • ... or throw in a qualifier like deliberately, decidedly, or notably, e.g. "This is a black, and [deliberately|decidedly|notably] not white, pencil." – yurrriq Dec 18 '13 at 0:14


"This pencil is black, not white."


"Not white, but black this pencil is" (in Yoda-speak).

I prefer my first version, by the way.


I would rearrange it:

This pencil is black instead of white.

But if you want to keep your original arrangement, the choice with the comma is most accurate:

This is a black, instead of white, pencil.


Use the sentence with the dashes. They add the emphasis you want by setting off "instead of white" visually.

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