apposition of proof?

MingBei

Senior Member
Chinese
Hi,

I am confused by the apposition (The spelling is correct but somehow it is underlined??) meaning of "proof"? Like this sentence:

"Do they have any proof that it was Hampson who stole the goods?" (from Cambridge dictionary)

It is out of question that the "that" indicates the sentence behind it is the apposition of the word "proof", which means "it was Hampson who stole the goods" is a proof. But actually "it was Hampson who stole the goods" is just the result that "proof" can show, not the proof itself. So why still call it "apposition" since - according to Collins - "If two noun groups referring to the same person or thing are in apposition"?

Thank you!

Ryan
 
  • lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Cambridge makes no mention of apposition (PROOF | Cambridge English Dictionary). It’s given as an example of proof used with a relative clause.

    Do they have any proof that it was Hampson who stole the goods?

    Do they have any proof?
    Proof of what?
    Proof of {whether it was Hampson who stole the goods} / Proof that {it was Hampson who stole the goods}​
     

    MingBei

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    Cambridge makes no mention of apposition (PROOF | Cambridge English Dictionary). It’s given as an example of proof used with a relative clause.

    Do they have any proof that it was Hampson who stole the goods?

    Do they have any proof?
    Proof of what?
    Proof of {whether it was Hampson who stole the goods} / Proof that {it was Hampson who stole the goods}​
    Thank you for your reply, but why "Proof that {it was Hampson who stole the goods}", not Proof that shows/indicates {it was Hampson who stole the goods}?
     

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Because that addition is totally unnecessary. You can see it as meaning proof [of the fact] that Hampson stole the goods.
     

    MingBei

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    That's wrong. Phrases that are in apposition are not separated by conjunctions like "that", nor is "it was Hampson who stole the goods" a noun phrase.
    Thank you. But there is the concept of "apposition clause". Like "The fact that he succeeded in the experiment pleased everyone." which shows the sentence "he succeeded in the experiment" is the apposition of "fact".
     

    MingBei

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    Because that addition is totally unnecessary. You can see it as meaning proof [of the fact] that Hampson stole the goods.
    It is easy to understand indeed. But in the original sentence, I'd like to ask, the clause behind the "that" is exactly an attributive one or apposition one?
     

    VicNicSor

    Banned
    Russian
    But there is the concept of "apposition clause".
    What do you know! There's indeed an "appositive clause", and "proof that ..." introduces one too:
    An appositive that-clause usually follows an abstract noun, which is mostly a derivativefrom a verb or an adjective.
    belief (believe), comment (comment), confidence (confident), discovery (discover), doubt(doubt), evidence (evident), fact, fear (fear), hope (hope), indication (indicate), idea,information (inform), knowledge (know), news, opinion, order (order), problem, promise(promise), proof (prove), proposal (propose), report (report), rumor (rumor), story (tell),suggestion (suggest), thought (think), truth (true), wish (wish).
    Relative vs Appositive Clause | Adjective | Clause
     

    Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    I admit I have never heard of an appositive clause. Something new every day! The only apposition I was aware of was noun phrase or clauses enclosed in commas if they are in the middle of a sentence which explain but are not essential to the meaning.
     

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    What do you know! There's indeed an "appositive clause", and "proof that ..." introduces one too
    Fair enough. I confess I wasn’t sure how to describe that clause, since it obviously couldn’t be introduced by “which”.

    However, “that it was Hampson who stole the goods” does not mean the same as proof, therefore it’s not apposition in the original sentence. This would be appositive:

    The proof, [the fact] that he was caught in the act on CCTV, should be enough to convict him.​
     

    MingBei

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    I don’t understand how you think those terms are relevant.
    Because I think if A is the apposition of B, A is equal to B. But if the original sentence is an apposition clause that means "it was Hampson who stole the goods" is JUST the proof. But it is not true. A proof should be something like some hairs or footprint Hampson lost when he stole. So in my eyes, it is not very appropriate to call the clause "apposition clause". That is what I am confused.
     

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Yes, that’s what I’ve just agreed with.

    But you seem to be contradicting yourself, if it’s you who’s describing that use as apposition. As I said in #2, Cambridge (who provided the sentence) made no such statement.
     

    MingBei

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    Yes, that’s what I’ve just agreed with.

    But you seem to be contradicting yourself, if it’s you who’s describing that use as apposition. As I said in #2, Cambridge (who provided the sentence) made no such statement.
    The textbooks I learned all call it as apposition.
     

    MingBei

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    Just in case you didn't know, "What do you know!" is just an expression of surprise))

    To think of it, it's not that weird, and I agree with lingo's example of an apposition ("the proof that he was caught in the act on CCTV")
    Yes, I also agree with that example, and actually, that's what I thought before. Just couldn't accept that in the original sentence the clause is an apposition like my textbook and your reference material said.
     

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    “That it was Hampson who stole the goods” is a noun clause, as in:

    {That it was Hampson who stole the goods} remains unproven / is mere conjecture
    As I see it, in the original sentence (or rather, question), it acts adjectivally to modify “proof”. That is, “proof that it was Hampson who stole the goods” is the equivalent of the notional attributive construction “that-it-was-Hampson-who-stole-the-goods proof”.
     

    MingBei

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    “That it was Hampson who stole the goods” is a noun clause, as in:

    {That it was Hampson who stole the goods} remains unproven / is mere conjecture
    As I see it, in the original sentence (or rather, question), it acts adjectivally to modify “proof”. That is, “proof that it was Hampson who stole the goods” is the equivalent of the notional attributive construction “that-it-was-Hampson-who-stole-the-goods proof”.
    So what kind of clause exactly call it?
     

    Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    My suggestion: If you can put the phrase/clause into the sentence between commas without the meaning or sense being changed, then it is "in apposition". "In apposition" is rather like a non-defining relative clause in that it can be omitted without changing the sense of the basic statement.
    Could you put the clause within commas, or perhaps parentheses?
     

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    That’s the definition of a parenthetical clause. My example at the end of #11 has a clause that’s both appositive and parenthetical.
     

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    So why still call it "apposition" since - according to Collins - "If two noun groups referring to the same person or thing are in apposition"?
    Hello MingBei,

    I think you have misinterpreted Collins, as illustrated by the fact that the quote you give isn't a sentence, just an if-clause.

    If you look at the whole sentence in Collins, things should be clearer: If two noun groups referring to the same person or thing are in apposition, one is placed immediately after the other, with no conjunction joining them, as in 'Her father, Nigel, left home three months ago.'

    In this example you do have two noun groups: 1. Her father 2. Nigel. They are in apposition: the one is placed immediately after the other, and there is no conjunction joining them.

    Let's look at your sentence:

    "Do they have any proof that it was Hampson who stole the goods?"
    You do not have two noun groups referring to the same person or thing. There is nothing at all like an appositive in your sentence. The whole appositive question is a wild goose chase I'm afraid.:)
     

    MingBei

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    Thank you for all your replies! I think I didn't show my question clearly, and like Thomas said it is a wild goose chase and I need to reorganize my question in another thread. Thank you again.
     

    PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    "Do they have any proof that it was Hampson who stole the goods?" (from Cambridge dictionary)

    It is out of question that the "that" indicates the sentence behind it is the apposition of the word "proof", which means "it was Hampson who stole the goods" is a proof. But actually "it was Hampson who stole the goods" is just the result that "proof" can show, not the proof itself. So why still call it "apposition" since - according to Collins - "If two noun groups referring to the same person or thing are in apposition"?
    You are making the mistake of confusing "a word, phrase, or clause, in apposition" and a relative phrase or clause.

    "it was Hampson who stole the goods" can be reduced to "Hampson stole the goods"
    To demonstrate 'apposition' we can expand this to
    "Hampson, the son of Lord Hampson, stole the goods" in which "the son of Lord Hampson" is in apposition to "Hampson" and merely adds information as an aside to "Hampson".

    You then convert the sentence to the impersonal by inversion and the dummy "it":

    [It was Hampson ,...[........the son of Lord Hampson,......] [who stole the goods.]
    [...Main clause..].....[...phrase in apposition to 'Hamilton'],[.....relative clause.....]
     
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