What is the best position for the phrase 'if any' for the sentence below?Please explain the rationale behind your answer?

What could be, if any, the benefits or disadvantages of something?

What could be the benefits or disadvantages, if any, of something?

What could be the benefits or disadvantages of something, if any?


  • Without any more information, there is no best position. It's purely a matter of preference. – Jason Bassford Feb 5 '19 at 6:10
  • What, if any, could be the benefits or disadvantages of something? – Edwin Ashworth Jul 10 at 15:01

The corpus data show clearly that if any is usually used after a noun, sometimes after few. So the second sentence is the best choice. examples: And do you know what services , if any, they performed while they were there? New York decisions shall be cited from the official reports , if any. What impact , if any, the transaction has on the public safety. Having said this, I think it is also fair to say that there are few , if any, good scientific studies to back this up. 

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  1. The 1st sentence is not lucid enough. The if any applies to What which also points to benefits and disadvantages.

  2. The 2nd sentence is the best way- it avoids ambiguity and also since the intent is to ask if there are any benefits or disadvantages of something. The 1st sentence and 2nd sentence mean the same.

  3. The 3rd sentence says: if there is 'something', what are its benefits or disadvantages. I am pretty sure that is not what the writer intends to ask.

I am a lawyer and the above is based on what I have read in various enactments and elsewhere.

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