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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Criminal Sentence 394: Unpositive Appositive

From a history book I'm reading:

"His wife Bertha was a Christian, a Frankish princess who had brought her own chaplain from Paris."

The description "a Frankish princess who had brought her own chaplain from Paris" is what's called an appositive, meaning it gives more information about something. For example, in the sentence "Ellen DeGeneres, a comedian, is a judge on American Idol," "a comedian" is an appositive. The sentence wouldn't sound right if it read like this: "Ellen DeGeneres is a judge on American Idol, a comedian."

That's the same problem as in the incorrect sentence. The appositive would sound a lot better in the middle: "His wife Bertha, a Frankish princess who had brought her own chaplain from Paris, was a Christian."

2 comments:

Anjana Anna said...

Hi, just wanted to clarify something here. Wouldn't the part of the sentence "who had brought her own chaplain from Paris" go with the part where the lady is described as a Christian. Is this sentence wrong: "His wife Bertha, a Frankish princess was a Christian who had brought her own chaplain from Paris."

The Sentence Sleuth said...

You need a comma after "princess."