Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Palin' Around with Appositives

Consistently sharp satirist (and worthy Tweeter) Andy Borowitz of The Borowitz Report posted a story yesterday headed: Palin Says Refudiate Appears In Fictionary: Calls Critics Incohecent. The piece, mocking the perpetually confused candidate-at-large's most recent grapplings with the English language, "quotes" Palin as follows:
"Everyone makes up words--Shakespeare, George W. Bush, Levi Johnston," she said. "The only person I know who doesn't do it is my husband Todd, who doesn't speak."
Her husband Todd, though, is an example of a non-restrictive appositive (as well as an example of a self-satisfied ignoramus). That means that Todd is not necessary to the meaning of the sentence (or, from the looks of it, to humanity as a whole) and so his name should be sequestered within commas--my husband, Todd, who doesn't speak--to indicate his superfluousness. Now, if she had more than one husband (and let's face it, with that family, anything is possible), we could remove the commas because my husband Todd, the restrictive, would be necessary to let us know which husband she was talking about.

But we still would not be able to understand much else of what she was talking about.