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Example sentence: A good husband, good father and good boss, David has been juggling between different roles over the years.

"A good husband, good father and good boss" - What is the name of this kind of phrase? Thz!

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  • Are you referencing the repeated “a” or the nonstandard spelling?
    – Lawrence
    Commented Sep 29, 2018 at 5:49
  • Sorry, Lawernce, have corrected it.
    – Jane
    Commented Sep 29, 2018 at 5:53

3 Answers 3

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[A good husband, good father and good boss], David has been juggling between different roles over the years.

The bracketed element is a coordination of noun phrases functioning as a predicative adjunct. It is predicative because it is related to a predicand, i.e. "David", and an adjunct because it does not have to be licensed by the head. It is, more specifically, a supplement, detached by punctuation from the rest of the clause, and by a slight pause in speech.

We understand that David is a good husband, good father and good boss.

It's not an appositive construction. Appositive modifiers always follow the head noun they modify. Here, the head noun is "David", and the coordination of NPs precede it. Here's another attested example of a predicative adjunct:

[A proud teetotaller], John stuck to water while the others drank champagne.

In this example, the noun phrase "a proud teetotaller" relates to the predicand "John, just as the coordination of noun phrases in your example relate to David.

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A noun, series of nouns, or a noun phrase identifying another noun as in your example sentence is termed an appositive. Appositives can be further categorized as essential/restrictive (no commas) or non-essential/nonrestrictive (commas required) depending on whether the information in the appositive is essential to specifying the noun to which it is in apposition.

My brother John … (as opposed to my brother Mark. I have two or more brothers.)

My brother, John, … (I have only one brother. His name is John.)

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The repetition of good in "good husband, good father and good boss" is a rhetorical device called anaphora.

anaphora noun (Rhetoric) The repetition of a word or phrase at the beginning of successive clauses. - ODO

Here are a couple of examples of anaphora from the Literary Devices website:

  • Every day, every night, in every way, I am getting better and better.
  • Tell them to be good, tell them to follow their elders, and tell them to mind their manners.

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