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Bidentate (also called didentate) ligands bind with two atoms, an example being ethylenediamine.


Is "an example being ethylenediamine" a inappropriate appositive?

As far as i know, appositive is usually to define the preceding noun.

My youngest sister, Meghan, will be visiting soon.

"Meghan" is an appositive describing the preceding noun(sister).

So, is the sentence in the beginning exemplifying a different grammar structure than appositive?


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Welcome to ELU! No, this is an absolute construction. – StoneyB Aug 4 '13 at 12:38
Yes, and potentially confusing as well. Much clearer would be a semicolon and a finite clause, instead of the comma and the participle: .. two atoms; an example is ethylenediamine. – John Lawler Aug 4 '13 at 14:27
a lot of thank to StoneyB. It seems like what i am looking for. – user49119 Aug 5 '13 at 3:54
up vote 2 down vote accepted

Yes, grammatically speaking, the sentence you reference smells as bad as ethylenediamine. As the sentence is written ethylenediamine is set in apposition to "two atoms." The sentence from Wikipedia begins to fall apart with the first set of parentheses. The writer meant to say something like this, "Bidentate, also called didentate, ligands, such as ethylenediamine, bind to two atoms."

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I would definitely not replace the parentheses with commas; I find the sentence almost unreadable that way. – Bradd Szonye Aug 5 '13 at 5:20
@BraddSzonye: Shouldn't that be a style rule? Sentences requiring both weak and strong parenthesization should use both parenthesis and parenthetical commas. – Pieter Geerkens Sep 4 '13 at 4:38

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