Mcclintock believed maize(corn)was idealistically a plant to study because each ear had hundreds of kernels, each with a different set of chromosomes. (From an ACT test)

Could any explain to me the grammatical function and the name of "each with a different set of chromosomes"? Though I know based on the meaning, it is modifying "kernels."

1 Answer 1


This is a very interesting question. Here's at least one theory about the answer.

The phrase is apposition, or else close to it.

"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;"

"each with a different set of chromosomes" does not contain a verb. It's purely a noun phrase. While the word "each" may play different roles depending on its usage, here it's a pronoun referring to kernels. So, the object of "each ear had kernels", which is "kernels", is appositively repeated a second time in a more descriptive way.

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