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Noun Function 7 - Noun Appositives

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Now let’s look at some noun structures that can hang directly on sentences all by themselves without prepositions or verbs. We’ll visit the final four functions:

7. Noun Appositives 8. Noun Modifiers 9. Noun Adverbs 10. Noun Absolutes

Let’s start with the noun appositive and use our model sentence to show an example:

7. Noun Appositives

Our model sentence:

The professor, John Smith, is the noun expert, so yesterday he gave the class his views on the importance of learning to write papers clearly, his students feverishly taking notes on all he said.

These structures always show up in the style of powerful writers. A noun appositive is a noun or noun phrase that restates or identifies another noun or noun phrase. Sometimes it is set off by commas and sometimes not. Ordinarily the appositive immediately follows the noun it restates, but in some cases it can begin a sentence and then point directly to the grammatical subject of the sentence.

Let’s look at several of these variations, the appositives appearing in bold:

Noun Appositive Comments
The White House, home of the president, is closely guarded. Appositive, set off by commas, immediately follows the noun.
A graduate of Carolina, Michael Jordan became a star. Appositive introduces the sentence and restates the upcoming grammatical subject.
Singing sensation Britney Spears sold the most albums. This formulation, originally used in America, now appears throughout the English-speaking world, especially in newspapers. Here’s the formula: “title or descriptive label + personal name.”
Jane’s brother Fred came to dinner. A restrictive appositive with no commas. Jane has more than one brother. Here the appositive identifies which one came to dinner.
Susan’s brother, Jack, came to dinner. A nonrestrictive appositive with commas. Susan has only one brother, and his name is Jack.

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