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I have this sentence:

Attended ABC college where I topped the English subject in 10th grade (only to later realize that my love for the language couldn’t end there).

Now after 15 years I realize the truth of the parenthesized statement, so how exactly should I state this? "Only to later realize" OR "Only later did I realize". I want to emphasize that period of time and hence prefer retaining the first usage of the phrase. Please correct me if I am grammatically incorrect.

  • Since you will find no end of examples of only to later realize in published books, the question is unclear. Clearly native speakers perceive this construction as grammatical. – tchrist Apr 17 '14 at 22:17
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"Only to later realize" is an instance of split infinitive.

It's grammatically correct, even though some folks will frown on that construction, which they consider as inelegant.

And so, a more largely accepted phrasing would be to say "only to realize later" instead.

That being said, an equally correct construction pushing more emphasis on the period of time is:

Attended ABC college where I topped the English subject in 10th grade, and realized only later that my love for the language couldn’t end there.

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