His belly was swollen—sure signs that he would die soon.

It's an example sentence in a workbook. Is the use of signs correct? The plural looks weird.

  • 1
    It's fine, but there's no appositive phrase present. The noun phrase, "sure signs that he would die soon" is best analysed as a supplement, a non-integrated expression set off by intonation (and usually punctuation, as in your example).
    – BillJ
    Jan 5, 2022 at 17:04
  • 7
    I agree that the plural signs looks wrong. So does the capital S in Swollen.
    – Colin Fine
    Jan 5, 2022 at 17:08
  • 1
    And note Colin's comment --- sure signs that you made a couple of slips!
    – BillJ
    Jan 5, 2022 at 17:12
  • That capital "S" was a typo. I will edit it.
    – ForOU
    Jan 5, 2022 at 19:21
  • 1
    @Robbyzhu My initial comment was intended to deal solely with the matter of an appositive phrase. By "fine" I meant the basic structure was correct. I should have pointed out the two errors in the sentence. Btw, you say the capital "S" was a typo. How are we to know whether the other errors were also typos?
    – BillJ
    Jan 5, 2022 at 19:39

1 Answer 1


This sentence is incorrect. There is only one sign, so it should read:

His belly was swollen—a sure sign that he would die soon.

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