What's the official term for these clauses of sentences? "Descriptive clauses"?

The male of this airborne species of fireflies has a special biochemical light at the end of its body, that familiar lighting visible on warm summer evenings.

Jenny was never happy about Max, that lanky and scruffy junior always loitering at the school's entrance.

I never could quite get the meaning of their tradition of making that religious cacophony, a mixture of all kinds of sounds and noises at their temples almost every Saturday night.


1 Answer 1


Those are examples of "appositive" noun phrases. They can be removed from the part of the sentence that comes before without disrupting its syntax, and they don't have relative pronouns linking them to the nouns they modify.

Wikipedia "apposition"
"Apposition is a grammatical construction in which two elements, normally noun phrases, are placed side by side, with one element serving to identify the other in a different way; the two elements are said to be in apposition."

See also the comment after the first answer to a question at StackeExchange:
StackExchange ELU "appositive clause (?)"

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