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...which is of course zero.

...which of course is zero.

Which one is preferred?

2 Answers 2

3

I don't think there's much difference between the two. It depends on which word you wish to stress more: which or zero. (Incidentally, I would set it off with commas, but that is a matter of taste.)

This saves all the emphasis for the final word zero:

... which is, of course, zero.

This puts the emphasis on which:

... which, of course, is zero.

There is no difference in meaning, only in dramatic effect. The effect is greater if the sentence is spoken; if it is written, the effect is vanishingly small.

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  • 1
    What is the effect of saying/writing: "... which is zero, of course." Nov 27, 2010 at 22:11
  • @Scott Mitchell: I think that naturally puts the emphasis on zero as the final word of the meat of the sentence.
    – Robusto
    Nov 28, 2010 at 0:14
  • I agree with @Robusto, accept that setting of course off with commas is (in this case) not a matter of taste. See for example The Elements of Style by Strunk and White.
    – user184885
    Jul 22, 2016 at 20:25
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I personally would prefer

... which is of course zero

if I wanted to stress is or zero.

... which of course is zero

to me sound more like

there is no doubt, of course it is zero

putting more stress on of course.

This might be quite subjective.

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