The sentence I'm writing goes like this:

As much as I love the pure sciences, I know now a well-rounded education is valuable.

But the words "know" and "now" are so similar that every time I read it, I keep reading it as "I now know" and go back after realizing my mistake. The sentence comes near the end of my essay, so such interruption really breaks the flow of the writing.

So is there any preferred order or rule in the phrasing? Or is it just me who's having trouble, and other people will have no problem reading it?

EDIT: I think the wording is awkward to read because "I" and "now" have similar vowel sounds, so you automatically expect to read it as "I now know."

  • 2
    The sentence would benefit from a that, between now and a well-rounded.... But it doesn't much matter whether you say I know now that a well-rounded... or I now know that a well-rounded...
    – WS2
    Commented Dec 30, 2016 at 19:01
  • 1
    I would argue that now know more strongly emphasizes the temporal aspect of the phrase, stressing the change in what you know from what you knew previously more than the alternative phrasing. But it's a tiny difference, and there will be no ambiguity of meaning, at all, either way. I say this one is down to style and preference in a composition.
    – Upper_Case
    Commented Dec 30, 2016 at 19:31
  • 1
    I also stumbled over the phrase while reading the sentence. My mind expected it to say now know. Also, I agree with the recommendation to include a that. Commented Dec 31, 2016 at 4:04
  • 1
    @WS2 I'm happier about dropping the 'that' after 'now know' than after 'know now'. Commented Aug 3, 2023 at 13:46
  • @EdwinAshworth I agree.
    – WS2
    Commented Aug 3, 2023 at 15:54

3 Answers 3


I agree with the person who says you would benefit from a 'that', but you might also benefit from a rewording to avoid interruption or misunderstanding in the first place:

'As much as I love the pure sciences, I now realise/recognise that a well-rounded education is valuable.'

If you must stick with the current phraseology, I'd definitely go with 'now know' for that natural flow.

  • Welcome to English Language and Usage! Please consider fleshing out your answer so that it reads a little less like a comment and more like what a good answer should be. Please consult our help page for assistance in drafting a good answer. When you gain a little more rep, you will be able to post comments. Commented Jan 3, 2017 at 22:48
  • Unfortunately, I've already submitted the essay... But I'll keep your advice in mind in my future writing, thanks. Commented Jan 3, 2017 at 23:31
  • Oh wonderful, glad I could help :)
    – Littletee
    Commented Jan 3, 2017 at 23:34

Particular usage

Your particular usage of 'now', in this case, is the adverb form. It's purpose is to draw attention to a particular point.

Without having read the rest of your essay, I am able to divine that you were likely making acknowledgements, of academic disciplines, other than the pure sciences, though they are your preference.

Now, in order for 'now' to achieve it's proper effectiveness as the conspicuous element pointing to know, it needs to proceed it as a forerunner.

'As much as I love the pure sciences, I know now a well-rounded education is valuable.'

As much as I love the pure sciences, I now know a well-rounded education is valuable.

There is a difference, though a subtle one, the other alternative is, as others suggest here, to use 'that' as a determiner, but that feels clunky without the proper positioning of the adverb.


I think everyone should realise, the preceding is the emphasis.

So "I NOW know I am the best in the class", means, I always suspected it, but have just realised NOW for it to be true.

While "I KNOW now I am the best in the class", means, I may have always KNOWN it, but I also know it now as well!

Actually quite different meaning, not ambiguous at all.

  • '"I now KNOW I am the best in the class" is fine too. Commented Aug 3, 2023 at 13:44
  • The point is knowing now, and now knowing are different. > Knowing now, you may have always known > Now knowing, you have just realised it is true! Commented Aug 25, 2023 at 11:08

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