Viral encephalitis is a disease transmitted by mosquitoes from infected small animals**, usually birds and rodents,** to humans.

In this sentence, what is the structure of ''usually birds and rodents''? Is it ''appositive structure'' or ''elips''?


While it is common to teach appositives as noun-phrases modifying a noun antecedent (e.g. John, a lazy student, slept through the lecture.), they actually come in more diverse forms:

  1. Nominal, which modifies the antecedent noun with a noun phrase; e.g., John, a lazy student, slept through the lecture.
  2. Adjectival, which modifies the antecedent noun with an adjective phrase; e.g. Helen, upset about John's snoring, gave him detention.
  3. Prepositional, which modifies the noun with a prepositional phrase; e.g. John, in the detention room, had to miss the game.

Clearly, appositives are a more diverse and robust structure than one might think initially! In fact, beyond these three primary types, they can also include adverbs, as in your example.

I've left a source below that examines the exact function of adverb function in appositives; of interest for you might be the examples from part number 7. I've reproduced one such example for your convenience:

completely: The eastern arm is a golden building called the Café deParis, *completely rebuilt in 1988, which houses restaurants, sidewalk cafes and one-armed bandits. (New York Times online, ‘Churchill slept here’, 04/03/90)


| improve this answer | |

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.