So on this sentence for example it's using (a) to expand on the main subject. It's exhaustive to read, but is it necessarilly wrong. What is the grammatical term for this usage or style (without knocking it). When we expand on the subject in this way.

Laura was trapped in a town like no other, a fantasy town, a town she felt trapped in, a town she no longer wanted to be, a place she could no longer escape, and she was staying in a hotel, a desolate, dry hotel, a hotel with patches on the sealing, a hotel with broken windows, a hotel she had to leave.

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    The technique of putting synonymous phrases together, with comma intonation, is called Apposition. The phrases are Appositives; they are said to be In Apposition. Normally one doesn't go this far, but it's not ungrammatical, merely dull. Commented Apr 22, 2018 at 18:14

1 Answer 1


This technique, whether well or poorly executed, could be called serial appositives with anadiplosis.

Apposition occurs when one or more elements — almost always nouns/noun phrases — are placed next to another to define the first element. Without literary or rhetorical pretence, serial appositives can easily occur in unfiltered, unrehearsed speech, say, between guests at a wedding reception:

My brother Josh, the banker from Philadelphia — you remember, the one who just bought the brownstone in Center City — is over by the punchbowl.

The proper name Josh and the noun phrases the banker from Philadelphia and the one who just bought the brownstone in Center City are all in apposition to brother.

Anadiplosis, Gk. lit. ‘double folding back’, is a rhetorical device where a phrase- or sentence-final word is repeated in the next phrase/sentence, such as in this blurb for a book of children’s fiction:

House of a Thousand Screams
(Book #17 of Ghosts of Fear Street)
By R.L. Stine
For Ages: 8 - 12
Uncle Solly has left Jill and Freddie’s family a house—a house full of evil.

For better or worse, house full of evil is in apposition to house. The intended effect should be obvious; whether it has been achieved is, of course, a matter of opinion.

Put this all together and you get constructions such as these:

I am a woman, a woman who has SLAMMED chaps as boring, grumpy slobs who cannot cook for themselves; a woman who has turned down self-identifying nice guys in favour of men who are horrible to me just for the thrill; a woman who propositions shy, retiring men who just want to go for walks.

She had to see him as a man. A man who could be distant but considerate. A man who didn't suffer fools gladly but still offered a second chance. — Dara Girard, Snowed in with the Doctor, 2013, 101.

“Parents, you should rejoice for having given birth to this type of a child. A child who prefers to fight it out with the oppressors rather than to be submerged in drunkenness, frustration and thuggery. A child who prefers to die from a bullet rather than to allow a poisonous education which relegates him and his parents to a position of perpetual subordination.” — Paul Nugent, Africa since Independence, 2012, 264.

Your example sentence, with two such constructions built on town and hotel, employs the identical technique. As the second citation suggests, writers of a certain class of popular fiction seem quite taken with the construction. Sometimes it can add gravitas, drama, or suspense, or, as in your example, dissolve into self-parody.

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