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As per the biblatex documentation page 92:

All citation commands generally take one mandatory and two optional arguments. The [prenote] is text to be printed at the beginning of the citation. This is usually a notice such as ‘see’ or ‘compare’.

I've noticed, however, that the [prenote] argument doesn't always come at the beginning of the citation, as seen with the \textcite command below:

\usepackage[style = authoryear, backend = biber ]{biblatex}


\noindent{This is very interesting, \cite[see][]{brunner1965}.}\\
This is very interesting, \textcite[see][]{brunner1965}.\\
This is very interesting \parencite[see][56]{brunner1965}.\\


enter image description here

Is this behavior intentional, or is it a bug?

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up vote 6 down vote accepted

This is intentional, and was actually changed to the current behaviour in biblatex v0.9a. From the release notes:

*  [CAVEAT] Prenote placement with \textcite [authoryear/authortitle]

   The placement of the prenote in all authoryear and authortitle
   styles has also been modified.

   Old format:

   \cite[see][15]{key}      ->  see Doe 2010, p. 15
   \parencite[see][15]{key} ->  (see Doe 2010, p. 15)
   \textcite[see][15]{key}  ->  see Doe (2010, p. 15)

   New format:

   \cite[see][15]{key}      ->  see Doe 2010, p. 15
   \parencite[see][15]{key} ->  (see Doe 2010, p. 15)
   \textcite[see][15]{key}  ->  Doe (see 2010, p. 15)

   The new format places the prenote inside the brackets. If you
   want the prenote outside of the brackets, you can simply use:

   see \textcite[15]{key}   ->  see Doe (2010, p. 15)

   which is similar to the old format.
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