For example:

  • A powerful sword forged by a famous blacksmith, it has seen endless battles.

  • A cheap yet versatile mini-tank, the Ice Golem provides a wide range of uses ...

  • The sister of the Witch, she has moderate hitpoints ...

  • The capital ship of the Terran fleet, this powerful spacecraft is capable of firing a Yamato cannon ...

That is, a sentence (perhaps following a title) that begins with a descriptive noun phrase, followed by a complete sentence. I remember reading sentences with a similar structure in item descriptions in many video games, but I can't remember a grammatical term to describe such sentences when I want to discuss them with others.

  • Thank you. I googled 'left dislocation', and most of the examples are colloquial, and it is seen as a discourse function, such as topicalization. But my examples are not colloquial. I believe I have seen such usage in many genres of written texts, not only video games. So is it also discourse-driven in written language? Or is it a formal structure widely accepted in formal English for some time? By the way, English is not my mother tongue, so such nuances are elusive to me.
    – vttiie
    May 23, 2022 at 10:12
  • The examples are all appositives -- note that they are each followed by a synonymous NP that they are intended to describe or name. A very standard structure, as the existence of a punctuation mark (colon) for it, and its standard deployment in definitions. May 23, 2022 at 17:51
  • 1
    I disagree, Appositives are always post-head modifiers or supplements. How can "it" possibly be an appositive modifier of "A powerful sword forged by a famous blacksmith"? And how can "she" be an appositive modifier of "the sister of the witch"? In any case, appositives are always specifying, not ascriptive.
    – BillJ
    May 24, 2022 at 6:45
  • Related.
    – tchrist
    Jan 10, 2023 at 2:11
  • You might be interested in the concept of topic-prominent languages: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Topic-prominent_language
    – shuhalo
    Mar 31 at 20:38

2 Answers 2


I'd say that the initial NPs are predicative adjuncts. Here are some clearer examples:

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

A teacher by profession, Ed was soon recruited to lead the students.

The initial NPs, a proud teetotaller" and "a teacher by profession" are predicative because they relate to a predicand, i.e. "John" and "Ed" (cf. John was a teetotaller. / Ed was a teacher.). They are also adjuncts in clause stucture; hence the term 'predicative adjunct'.

Note that predicative adjuncts are not restricted to NPs; we can also have PPs and AdjPs;

In a bad temper, as usual, John walked on ahead of the main party.

Unwilling to accept these terms, Max resigned.

Lexico link describes a predicative adjunct as "a word or phrase that amplifies or completes the predicate of the sentence", though I would add that it must be a supplement (e.g. an appendage), and it must relate to a predicand (usually the subject of the sentence).


These are often considered appositives. Although appositives usually follow their referents, it is possible for them to precede them, especially at the beginning of a sentence. Purdue OWL gives several examples, including:

A bold innovator, Wassily Kandinsky is known for his colorful abstract paintings.

ThoughtCo gives another example:

A dark wedge, the eagle hurtled earthward at nearly 200 miles per hour.

  • 1
    I disagree, Appositives are always post-head modifiers or supplements. No exception.
    – BillJ
    May 24, 2022 at 6:20
  • @BillJ Yeah, we've had this conversation before. Noted. May 24, 2022 at 13:33

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