1) Good vocabulary, knowledge of grammar, sense of style--all are basic writing skills. 2) Basic writing skills--good vocabulary, knowledge of grammar, sense of style-- can be learned by almost everyone. In (2) the series of appositives are "good vocabulary, knowledge of grammar, sense of style". So by definition "The appositive is a noun or noun phrase that modifies another noun" so it means appositive comes after the subject right? But my doubt is can we use appostives before a subject like in (1) and in (1) which is the subject(i.e noun) that modifies the noun phrases "Good vocabulary, knowledge of grammar, sense of style" ?


'Appositive' means 'side by side', but as its purpose is to give additional information, the more definite noun phrase will usually come first (so we could call the extra info postpositive).
In (1), the list is the subject and 'all' is the postpositive (all [of the preceeding items]).

"My brother, Allen" and "Allen, my brother" both have equal 'definiteness'.

"My brother, a doctor" works, but *"A doctor, my brother" is weak because the definiteness increases in the postpositive.

  • 2
    Only specifying NPs can be appositives. In "my brother, a doctor", the NP "a doctor" is ascriptive, not specifying, and hence is not an appositive. The OP's first example is not an appositive at all. The second is an appositive construction where "good vocabulary, knowledge of grammar, sense of style" are supplementary appositive NPs anchored to (but not modifying) the NP "basic writing skills".
    – BillJ
    Sep 2 '17 at 18:58
  • @BillJ - Are you not recognizing non-restrictive appositions? And do you not allow pronouns in appositions?
    – amI
    Sep 6 '17 at 21:14

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