1

Which is correct?

A person sued BigCorp, the biggest company on Earth.

A person sued the biggest company on Earth, BigCorp.

Are there any semantic differences between the 2 sentences? Is there a convention for putting appositives in the proper order?

2

The example uses a company that readers would probably know is the biggest, so I would put the subordinate clause last.

A person sued BigCorp, the biggest company on Earth.


Suppose it is a not a well known company, the two options could be

A person sued SmallCorp, a trading company.

A person sued a trading company, SmallCorp.

where it seems clear that the first option is also better.


Now suppose it is a reasonably well known company, the two options are

A person sued MiddleCorp, the trading company.

A person sued the trading company MiddleCorp.

Here I would use the second example.


There is a similarity when talking about people:

I met the actor Box Star Giant.

I met New Lines Green, an actor.

I don't know if there is an actual rule, the right sentence seems to depend on its context.

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.