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This is a question about splitting a verb with a clause, not a word. Thus, it's similar to but different from usual verb splitting. Or, rather, I'm wondering if it's different enough to have its own term, and its own rules for correctness.

For example, for the two sentences ...

Our main participation will be, as usual, a demo.

Our main participation will, as usual, be a demo.

... (1) is there a term for the kind of verb splitting going on in the second sentence, and (2) are both considered more-or-less equally correct, as with regular verb splitting (by a word or words)? Or is the second form considered incorrect, or significantly less correct?

I have reviewed these previous posts (and their references):

Name of phenomenon when you place a word(s) between 'will' and the verb?

Can be potentially provided

I have also looked about for rules on placing commas, and while nonessential clauses are covered, this exact circumstance is not; e.g.:

Extended Rules for Using Commas

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  • Doesn't "as usual" count as just an adverb, rather than a clause? Commented Jun 17, 2022 at 17:07
  • You focus on sentences of the second kind, but I think those of the first kind also deserve discussion. They can be unfortunately misleading. Now, did I mean "Unfortunately, they can be misleading" or "They can mislead in an unfortunate way"?
    – Rosie F
    Commented Jun 17, 2022 at 17:22
  • @JackO'Flaherty : Perhaps, but in regular verb splitting, the interjecting words would not be considered nonessential or nonrestrictive in the same sense. So if one wants to add a nonrestrictive clause -- and indicate it as such with parenthetical commas -- does one need to consider where those commas and that clause go, more than one would need to consider where to put a splitting adverb?
    – landru27
    Commented Jun 17, 2022 at 18:17

1 Answer 1

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There are several terms, but verb splitting is not among them.
Oh, and there's only one clause and it's not non-restrictive.
Thankfully, you gave examples.

  • Our main participation will be, as usual, a demo.
  • Our main participation will, as usual, be a demo.

What you're asking about is where you can put parenthetical remarks like as usual in the sentence. This phrase might be encountered at the beginning or the end of a sentence

  • As usual, our main participation will be a demo.
  • Our main participation will be a demo, as usual.

as well as several places inside the sentence
(not necessarily inside the verb phrase, like the two examples given),

  • Our main participation will be, as usual, a demo.
  • Our main participation, as usual, will be a demo.

but not just anywhere

  • *Our, as usual, main participation will be a demo
  • *Our main, as usual, participation will be a demo
  • *Our main participation will be an, as usual, demo

The rule is that adverbs like this prefer to go after the first auxiliary verb -- the same place you put not -- but they are also welcome and happy before or after the verb phrase (which includes verbs and object), or after any other auxiliary verb, or at the beginning or end of the sentence. That's a lot of places, and a lot of grammatical sentences.

The ungrammatical ones all interrupt a different constituent, typically noun phrases: our main participation and a demo. The longer the sentence, the more grammatical niches there are to stick parentheticals -- and the more ungrammatical places there are, too.

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  • Regarding the term "verb splitting", is the use of that term in this answer incorrect : english.stackexchange.com/a/301144/358284 ?
    – landru27
    Commented Jun 17, 2022 at 19:43
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    It's not "incorrect"; this isn't a class. It's just not standard terminology, and therefore unclear. I've never seen it before, but I can see where it comes from - the verb phrase is the usual place to put interlopers, but it's not split any more than any other constituent -- it's just got more niches available, especially with a lot of auxiliary verbs. Verbs have more fun; they run the sentence. Commented Jun 17, 2022 at 20:17

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