..., a kind of alkaloid,...

belongedto

Senior Member
Chinese
Source: Quick and Dirty Tips, The Health Benefits of Coffee

So are there any downsides to drinking coffee? The bitter taste of coffee acts as a warning sign that too much coffee, a kind of alkaloid, is not a good thing.

Can the expression in bold go anywhere? Can I say "The bitter taste of coffee, a kind of alkaloid, acts as a warning sign that too much coffee is not a good thing."?
 
  • Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    Yes, in my opinion you can. The placement is a stylistic choice.

    Perhaps the author put it where they did because they wanted to indicate that too much coffee is not a good thing because coffee is a kind of alkaloid.
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    The expresion in bold ("a kind of alkaloid") is a parenthetical phrase describing "coffee". It needs parens or commas around it, and should go right after the word "coffee":

    The bitter taste of coffee (a kind of alkaloid) acts as a warning that...
    The bitter taste of coffee, a kind of alkaloid, acts as a warning that...

    Since the word "coffee" appears twice in this sentence, there are 2 places to put the parenthetical phrase. But it makes a little more sense where I show it, because the phrase is near "bitter taste", and "a kind of alkaloid" is the reason for the bitter taste.
     
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