1. mrieder79

    mrieder79 Probably not a ground squirrel Contributor

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    Grammar question: can i do this appositive without commas?

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by mrieder79, May 28, 2018.

    Here's the sentence:

    Bernie stood at the cutter Albermarle’s railing, watching darkness descend.

    If I set Albermarle's off in commas, then it just looks weird with the apostrophe. It feels more correct without commas, but I'm really not sure. Anyone have any answers? Thanks.
     
  2. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

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    I think it's fine as written, but I'd like it better with the "cutter" there. As it is, I'm reading it sort of as if the title of the ship is The Cutter Albermarle, so that's why I'm fine without the extra commas (which I think would be disastrous). So could you use only one of the words in the first sentence, then add the other in the next? Like:

    Bernie stood at The Albermarle's railing, watching darkness descend. He'd been on the cutter for three weeks and every night had enjoyed watching the endless sea meet the endless sky before the endless darkness descended.

    Or whatever.

    TLDR: Extra commas definitely bad. Your version okay, but not my absolute fave.
     
    mrieder79 and jannert like this.
  3. mrieder79

    mrieder79 Probably not a ground squirrel Contributor

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    Thanks Bayview. I've been vascillating on how to do it. I like it without cutter, too. I'll have to introduce the name earlier in the book, but that'll be easy. thanks.
     
  4. matwoolf

    matwoolf Banned Contributor

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    Maybe reader might understand better a -

    Bernie stood at the rail of the Albermarle. Darkness descended and...the cutter - nautical nautical sea-salty words, a good five knots, swell...and on.
     
  5. Seven Crowns

    Seven Crowns Contributor Contributor

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    You can look at that bit two ways. 1) Albermarle is a one-word appositive, or 2) cutter is a noun adjunct.

    Appositives don't always use commas. It depends on their necessity to the phrase (restrictive vs non-restrictive). If there were ten cutters at a pier, and the MC was picking one in particular, for instance, there would be no comma because that info is necessary to the phrase.

    I would just think of the default as this:
    Bernie stood at the Albermarle's railing, watching darkness descend.​

    Then cutter is being added as a "noun as adjective" (noun adjunct). And then it doesn't need a comma. And there are other valid approaches too, as mentioned.

    The thing about grammar is that it's sentential, but the sentences don't exist in a vacuum. Sometimes the intent isn't even in the surrounding paragraph. So in this case, it's all a matter of perspective, and you're fine as is, if you want to be.
     

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