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I have written the following sentence, I do not know what is the best place to put the word that. although I just feel version 2 is better.

Version 1 - Also, I have to mention that (I don't know if this is important to you) I may defer the beginning of my programme to the next semester.

Version 2 - Also, I have to mention (I don't know if this is important to you) that I may defer the beginning of my programme to the next semester.

Thank you.

3 Answers 3

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You're writing in the style of someone speaking and interrupting themselves with something they want to mention in midsentence.

This is better expressed by using long dashes and not parentheses, or even commas. You are not really trying to add a second "sub-stream" of parallel information to the benefit of the listener/reader, but rather you are actually breaking into the middle of sentence to CYA in the event you are wasting the listener's/reader's time.

You should add an and in front of I don't know... to make it clear you are introducing an interruption that interrupts the flow of the first sentence.

Also, I have to mention that--and I don't know if this is important to you--I may defer the beginning of my programme to the next semester.

Also, you should put the that after the interruption because that makes it clear that it is linked to the text before the interruption (or at the very least not meant to stand alone):

Also, I have to mention--and I don't know if this is important to you--that I may defer the beginning of my programme to the next semester.

In live speech, pauses and voice intonation makes things like this unnecessary.

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Version 2 is better, because if you read it aloud, it can sound like the thing that you want to mention is "that I don't know if this is important to you."

Of course, no one reading Version 1 would misunderstand it. But it's best to write so that the words flow naturally, without leading the reader down any "garden paths", even garden paths that parentheses explicitly forbid.

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Both seem fine since the purpose of the parentheses is to interrupt the sentence and insert information.

I can't really see one as better than the other.

Personally, I would consider shoving the parentheses to the end

Also, I have to mention that I may defer the beginning of my programme to the next semester (I don't know if this is important to you).

Or all together change the structure,

I don't know if this is important to you, but I (also) have to mention that I may defer the beginning of my programme to the next semester.

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  • Or just don't bother including it at all... it seems unnecessary to me.
    – Catija
    Commented Jul 1, 2016 at 23:50
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    Yeah, but I assume OP wants to keep it. That's kinda the point.
    – Em.
    Commented Jul 1, 2016 at 23:53
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    The second example above is the best way to write this. The condition (I don't know if this is important to you) should be a phrase separate from the information you are providing. Don't start a phrase and then ask if it is relevant at all.
    – user3169
    Commented Jul 2, 2016 at 0:11
  • @user3169 Putting the parentheses at the end served to indicate an after thought in this case. It is not a question, it's a statement.
    – Em.
    Commented Jul 2, 2016 at 7:22
  • I meant "ask" in that it is questionable whether the statement will be of interest to the recipient.
    – user3169
    Commented Jul 2, 2016 at 14:42

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