the Appositive and the Comma

Simple appositive:           1.  The witch, Helga, ate my dog.

Restrictive appositive:     2.  My cousin Helga is the witch.

(In the second sentence Helga specifies which cousin.)

Simple appositive:         1.  My wife, Cherry, left me.

Restrictive app:             2.  My wife Cherry left me.

(The second sentence would be okay only if I had more than one wife, and the name specified which wife left.  Whew! I thought she’d never get out.)

Simple Appositive:        1.  My son, Luke, is in the Navy.

Restrictive App:            2.  My son Luke is in the Navy.

(Again, the second sentence is only appropriate if I have more than one son.)

Simple Appositive:        1. My youngest son, Luke, is in the Navy.

(By adding the word youngest, I have already specified which son, even if I have many sons.  Luke reverts back to a simple appositive.)


2 thoughts on “the Appositive and the Comma

  1. Interesting and useful. Also possible to generate further discussion on this:

    Simple appositive: 1. The witch, Helga, ate my dog.

    Restrictive appositive: 2. My cousin Helga is the witch.

    The first tells what the witch did. The second identifies the witch. But the second sentence could also have a comma setting off Helga.

  2. Ah, Harry, I should have known it would be you. As you can tell my blog is not very popular. Alas, I’m use to that.

    Just yesterday, I found a sneaky little button on my dashboard that would let me make these ‘DUH’ cheat-sheets private. I was debating the issue of hiding these posts. Don’t want to appear unprofessional. But since you commented, perhaps, I’ll reconsider, and I was planning on going into much deeper issues, eventually.

    Still waiting on Liquid Imagination to publish my story in issue #6. They said May, but here it is the 21st and I’m dying over here.

    Also, I wanted to tell you: I found that’s suppose to be an elite group of writers, who have been published in Liquid Imagination, Another Realm, Static Movement, etc. Check it out. I’m thinking about joining myself–that is after issue 6 comes out. Maybe…. Let me know what you think!

    Oh, and to answer your comment. I, too, would find it difficult not to wrap Helga in commas on either sentence.

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