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Long story short: A player can choose from different items, and wishes to have the best one. Would the player say:

I want to have the overall best item.

or

I want to have the best item overall.

?

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    I want to have the best item. overall is entirely superfluous in this case. Commented Jun 10, 2014 at 12:29
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    I dunno, the "overall" adds something for me, it's signalling that they mean "best" in a global sense and want to take all aspects into consideration. For example, one could be talking about the intrinsic attributes of the items rather than secondary properties such as their costs, and this is less likely with the "overall" there.
    – Rupe
    Commented Jun 10, 2014 at 12:34
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    I'd like to add the overall because during the setting, subsets are considered, and the best items there (locally) don't have to be the best globally/overall. So I'd like to point out this "globality"-best by adding overall.
    – Manuel
    Commented Jun 10, 2014 at 12:36

1 Answer 1

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Both are probably fine but I have a strong personal preference for ending in overall rather than starting with it.

I think some of this has to do with the sense of it meaning the same as "out of all [of the items]" and thus having an implicit noun that it describes which fits more nicely when elided at the end of a sentence rather than in the middle. That is, "overall" doesn't really describe the item in our sentence but rather a relationship that item has to another implicit noun (the set of all items including the one which is the subject of our sentence).

Again, this is mostly a question of personal preference, I doubt that there's a truly 'correct' or more 'proper' choice that can be made.

There are also scenarios where, if I am not using another adjective like 'best' in your example, I might be inclined to put overall first "This modification increases overall efficiency" for example. However, if I am using overall in this 'relation to set' sense I'll almost always put it last.

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