Hermione Granger, a witch at Hogwarts School, is accomplished at spells.

The core of this sentence is Hermione Granger is accomplished at spells.

(A witch at Hogwarts School is an appositive noun phrase that gives us additional information about Hermione Granger.)

In relation to these examples, do we omit commas when the sentence structure is reversed in a) and does b) require commas as there could be multiple detectives working a case?

The examples contain names we are familiar with and associate with the descriptions through popular culture, but is that cause to use commas?

A) Talented Hogwart's School witch Hermione Granger has been awarded for her efforts.

B) Determined detective on the Jack the Ripper serial killer case, Chief Inspector Abberline, has failed to solve the mystery.


  • I'm not sure why your example A is considered reversed. I would consider the reversal to be, "A witch at Hogwarts School, Hermione Granger, is accomplished at spells," or possibly, "Accomplished at spells, Hermione Granger is a witch at Hogwarts School."
    – EllieK
    Sep 8, 2020 at 18:00

1 Answer 1


In A), commas must not be used around "Hermione Granger" because the identification is more specific than the descriptive appositive phrase that precedes it. That means her name is essential to the meaning of the sentence.

In B) as written, the commas should be omitted too, for the same reason. But the initial appositive phrase is way too long, and the sentence should start with "Chief Inspector Abberline". The non-essential appositive phrase "the determined detective..." should follow, set off by commas, like this:

B) Chief Inspector Abberline, the determined detective on the Jack the Ripper serial killer case, has failed to solve the mystery.

  • Excellent answer, but could you edit to show the full correct second sentence?
    – BadZen
    Sep 9, 2020 at 1:51
  • Thank you. Added full second sentence in better style. Sep 9, 2020 at 3:01
  • What if A was in a different context: He attended the graduation ceremony where he met a talented Hogwart's School witch Hermione Granger.
    – bluebell1
    Dec 17, 2020 at 22:49
  • With such a long appositive phrase, it's easier to understand if the name comes first: "Hermione Granger, a talented Hogwart's School witch." Dec 17, 2020 at 23:01
  • 1
    If it said "witch Hermione", as in "Witch Hermione made repairs to her gingerbread house". it wouldn't need commas. It would be a use like a title, as in "Doctor Smith" or "President Biden". Dec 18, 2020 at 16:24

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