9

Example from my writing:

Not everything was rainbow and roses, of course. Sometimes rain would fall on my head or a thorn prickle my finger.

Of course, not everything was rainbow and roses. Sometimes rain would fall on my head or a thorn prickle my finger.

What's the stylistic/rhetorical effect of having "of course" in those places?

8

Virtually none. Both the beginning and the end of a sentence are prominent positions to emphasize something. English allows for many variations of word order with the same semantics. The only effect of one choice over another in many cases is a change in emphasis, in where the reader's attention is directed. But really there is not much difference, if any, in this case, certainly not a difference you could rely on reader's being affected by on a consistent basis.

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9

The effect playing 'of course' at the beginning or end of a sentence is often dependent on the previous and subsequent sentences.

At the end of a sentence 'of course' affirms a positive statement.

"Everything was rainbow and roses, of course."

At the beginning of a sentence it is often as conjunction to introduce a previous or pending contrast.

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4

The ordering of your words, phrases, and sentences changes the rhythm of the work. When you read your piece aloud you might notice that "of course" sounds better in one place or another, or deleted altogether.

(I'll confess to moving a phrase back and forth in a sentence from revision to revision depending on mood.)

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3

You asked "What is the effect of placing of course ..." When writing, I ask myself, "Is this word or phrase nessary?" "Does [fill in the blank] enhance or clarify or help a reader to picture in his mind what I'm trying to convey?" "If I took that word or phrase out of the sentence, would it make any difference?" "Is adding [fill in the blank] superfluous?" "Not everything was rainbow and roses. Sometimes rain would fall on my head or a torn prickle my finger." Perfect flow of words in my opinion. I think the effect of using "of course" is that there is no effect and effect is what you're striving for.

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