ufc president dana white

wizard8451

Senior Member
Mexico, Spanish
Even his close friend, UFC president Dana White, chided him about his ways when they met at UFC 70 in Manchester, England, in April, only about a month before Liddell lost his title to Quinton Jackson.


Since he could possibly have more than one close friend, is the use of commas around the bolded phrase correct?
 
  • Matching Mole

    Senior Member
    England, English
    You are referring to restrictive versus non-restrictive appositives. A restrictive appositive provides essential information about a noun without which the noun is too general. For example "Former Prime Minister Tony Blair has converted to Catholicism". "Tony Blair" is an appositive, but it is restrictive because without it we don't know which former PM is being talked about. Commas are not used around restrictive appositives. I have only one sister, however, so I would say: "My sister, Sharon, is getting married on Saturday." This is non-restrictive because, since I only have one sister, it is not necessary for me to name her for you to know which sister I am talking about. Commas are put around non-restrictive appositives.

    So your point is that since commas are used around the appositive "UFC president Dana White" it is non-restrictive and therefore she is his only close friend.

    Well, I think that is a good point. However, I wonder if this rule breaks down with long appositives like this. Restrictive appositives tend to be short (e.g. "Tony Blair") and, as with other rules about when commas are not needed, it may be the case that when the restrictive appositive is a long phrase, they are used anyway.
     

    wizard8451

    Senior Member
    Mexico, Spanish
    You are referring to restrictive versus non-restrictive appositives. A restrictive appositive provides essential information about a noun without which the noun is too general. For example "Former Prime Minister Tony Blair has converted to Catholicism". "Tony Blair" is an appositive, but it is restrictive because without it we don't know which former PM is being talked about. Commas are not used around restrictive appositives. I have only one sister, however, so I would say: "My sister, Sharon, is getting married on Saturday." This is non-restrictive because, since I only have one sister, it is not necessary for me to name her for you to know which sister I am talking about. Commas are put around non-restrictive appositives.

    So your point is that since commas are used around the appositive "UFC president Dana White" it is non-restrictive and therefore she is his only close friend.

    Well, I think that is a good point. However, I wonder if this rule breaks down with long appositives like this. Restrictive appositives tend to be short (e.g. "Tony Blair") and, as with other rules about when commas are not needed, it may be the case that when the restrictive appositive is a long phrase, they are used anyway.
    Yes. That is what I was thinking, although I don't think length should matter when determining if an appositive is restrictive or nonrestrictive. I would omit the commas.
     

    lindamarcella

    New Member
    English (US)
    But what if there is a long phrase before the appositive, like:

    A student at the University of Helsinki, Linus Torvalds, developed the Linux operating system.

    ?

    Since there is more than one student at the university, "Linus Torvalds" is a restrictive phrase, so the correct grammar is:

    A student at the University of Helsinki Linus Torvalds developed the Linux operating system.

    But this looks bad.
     

    Matching Mole

    Senior Member
    England, English
    I don't think this is a restrictive (or defining) clause, because the point of this sentence is that "a student at UH" developed Linux. His name is given as additional information. Indeed, without his name we do not know which student, but the subject is indefinite to begin with so his name is not material in this case. If the subject here is Linus Torvalds then the sentence should be:

    "Linus Torvalds, a student at UH, developed Linux". "A student at UH" is, of course, non-defining, too.

    Note how "a student" is different to "Former prime minister"; this is a definite subject, and the sentence does not make sense without "Tony Blair".

    The sentences would be equal if it was:
    "University of Helsinki student Linus Torvalds developed Linux."
     
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