I've seen conflicting usage of the two phrases, and I wonder which one is grammatically correct and why?

Following are example sentence:

  1. Do something unless directed otherwise.

  2. Do something unless otherwise directed.

1 Answer 1


I think in this case, "otherwise directed" has become a standard idiomatic construction--but both are acceptable.

Contrast this with:

Do something unless you are told otherwise.

Do something unless you are otherwise told.

Here, the former sentence still sounds okay, but the latter sentence sounds unnatural.

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