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AS TAIWANESE CONTEMPLATED the momentous occasion, in March 1996, of being able to choose their president for the first time, China’s Communist Party launched a campaign of intimidation.

When I read newspaper,I often see two or more appositive portion included in the sentence. When one appositive is given after a clause then I understand that the is describe about its previous clause. But when two or more appositive portion is included then how to understand weather clause modify it. And that's why sometimes I have a problem to understand the whole sentence meaning.

In the above Sentence,

(, in March 1996,) modify which clause? And

(,of being able to choose their president for the first time,) modify which clause?

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  • Nothing there is an appositive. An appositive is a noun or noun phrase that clarifies another noun or noun phrase. All of [in March … first time] is nonrestrictive parenthetical information. The essential sentence is the following: As Taiwanese contemplated the momentous occasion, China's Communist Party launched a campaign of intimidation. Aug 6, 2020 at 16:39
  • There is no appositive modifier. The PP "In March 1996" modifies "occasion", so the first comma is not needed. The second comma is optional, but preferably omitted. The PP "of being able to choose their president for the first time ..." also modifies "occasion". Note that "China’s Communist Party launched a campaign of intimidation" is the core clause, with the rest a temporal adjunct.
    – BillJ
    Aug 6, 2020 at 17:03
  • A comma is not needed around the date in your sentence. appositives are like this: China's Communist Party, its supreme authority, launched the campaign. An appositive is a restatement of an idea or thing.
    – Lambie
    Aug 6, 2020 at 17:50

1 Answer 1

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As Taiwanese contemplated the momentous occasion in March 1996 of being able to choose their president for the first time, China’s Communist Party launched a campaign of intimidation.

The sentence can be divided into two main parts:

  1. A temporal adjunct in clause structure: As Taiwanese contemplated the momentous occasion in March 1996, of being able to choose their president for the first time

  2. The 'main' clause: China’s Communist Party launched a campaign of intimidation.

Note that within the adjunct, The PP "In March 1996" modifies "occasion", so the first comma is not needed. The second comma is optional, but preferably omitted. The PP "of being able to choose their president for the first time ..." also modifies "occasion".

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