If you’re gonna use a stereotype, why not go all the way, right? But to be fair, I often walk around town with an American flag draped over me.
An appositive is a noun or noun phrase that (often) follows a noun, and explains it. They are often set apart by commas. We can even reverse the order, so the above sentence would read: “The pilot, Brad, sneezed.” Now “Brad” is the appositive. Watch out for titles: “Former President George Bush tripped” does not need commas unless you add The: “The former president, George Bush, tripped” or “George Bush, the former president, tripped.” Now the sentence must still make sense without the appositive (appositives contain non-essential information), so The is required in the first sentence. There’s more to it, though, so feel free to read more about it.
This apposition joke was the impetus for this whole comic strip, believe it or not. I thought of this sometime in 2011, and it’s so bad I knew I had to do it. The whole premise of the blocks with words on them was invented just to support this joke. Originally this was going to be the only comic, but after thinking about it more, I realized I had other topics to write about. The plan was to post all of these on my other blog and not register a new domain (I have around ten), but of course I gave in after making the first two (before posting them). No regrets so far!
What are the appositives in these sentences? Post your answers in the comments!
- Sarah’s cat, who jumped on the couch, meowed.
- Bill’s band, the Wyld Stallyns, played a show.
- Sitting at his desk, drinking some hot cocoa, Ted answered his phone.
- Riding on his Segway, GOB performed an illusion for his brother, Michael.
Direct link for embedding: http://www.grammarcomic.com/files/grammar-block-006-apposition.jpg