Which of the numbered positions is the best for the adverb "obviously" in the following sentence?

Jim is totally aware of the problem but [1] Jack [2] is [3] not [4].

For each of the numbered options you can find instances here or there. Some look kind of awkward, though.

closed as primarily opinion-based by Jim, choster, NVZ, Cascabel, Rory Alsop Jun 9 '17 at 21:56

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  • Option [3] is correct. – peerless Jun 7 '17 at 18:13
  • @peerless Why is it "correct"? – Cascabel Jun 7 '17 at 18:26
  • Most suitable... – peerless Jun 7 '17 at 18:27
  • Each depends on what you want to emphasize. For [4] to work, maybe you would need a comma after 'not,' or use 'obviously so.' Just ending 'not obviously' feels like something's missing. – Yosef Baskin Jun 8 '17 at 22:11
  • All four are valid in different contexts. – Rory Alsop Jun 9 '17 at 21:56

It depends on the emphasis you want and how you want the sentence to read.

[2] and [4] stick out more to me, whereas [1] and [3] don't break up the sentence.

For example: "Jim is totally aware of the problem but Jack obviously is not." The obviously sticks out whereas "Jack is obviously not" doesn't interrupt the flow.


there is no (linguistically) "best" placement. this is a stylistic/rhetorical issue. (With the caveat that you need commas in some placements, e.g. 2 and 4)

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