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Il a pour ainsi dire été catapulté dans le monde de l'art.

{or}: Il a été pour ainsi dire catapulté dans le monde de l'art.

I have always wondered if it is stylistically better not to split Passé Composé like "a été" to insert an adverbial phrase such as "pour ainsi dire", "d'emblée" etc that is made up of more than one word.

In the case of a single-word adverb such as "malheureusement", on the other hand, you place it in between almost by default:

{vs}: Il a malheureusement été catapulté dans le monde de l'art.

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I think it is stylistically better to use your first proposition :

Il a pour ainsi dire été catapulté dans le monde de l'art.

The reason why I think that is it avoids the hiatus (succession of two vowels) created by "a été" that is often disliked. I believe most people would say it sounds better because of this.

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  • Hi. Interesting. As for the placement of "d'emblée", personally, I tend to say "j'ai dit d'emblée ..." rather than "j'ai d'emblée dit ...". What's your take on this? – Con-gras-tue-les-chiens Oct 21 '17 at 14:55
  • In this case, I think I would go for "D'emblée j'ai dit ...". It would insist on the notion of immediacy, plus I think it sounds better. – Paul-Etienne Oct 21 '17 at 15:03

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