Appositive or not?

English grammar questions, answered by Alan

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Appositive or not?

Post by Jazst » Tue Feb 19, 2013 9:14 pm

Is Tom a restrictive appositive in the sentence below? I know it would be a nonrestrictive appositive if it were set off by commas, but I'm not so sure about this sentence.

"Mary's other brother Tom is a barber." (As opposed to her first brother Tom; she has two brothers named Tom.)

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Re: Appositive or not?

Post by Alan » Fri Feb 22, 2013 3:43 am

Technically, yes. In practice, however, even when the intended reference is nonrestrictive, natives tend to omit commas where it is expected that sense/shared knowledge should be sufficient for the addressee to be aware of the fact.

I would, therefore, advise against relying too literally on any such expression!