What Is an Appositive? (with Examples)
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What Is an Appositive? (with Examples)

An appositive is a noun, a noun phrase, or a noun clause which sits next to another noun to rename it or to describe it in another way. (The word appositive comes from the Latin for to put near.)

Appositives are usually offset with commas, brackets, or dashes.

Examples of Appositives

Here are some examples of appositives:

  • Don't leave your shoes there, or my dog, Ollie, will munch them.
  • (In this example, the appositive is Ollie. It is in apposition (as it's called) to my dog.)

  • My best friend, Lee, caught a whelk when he was fishing for bass.
  • (In this example, the appositive is Lee. It is in apposition to My best friend.)

  • Dr Pat, the creator of the turnip brew, sold 8 barrels on the first day.
  • (In this example, the appositive is the creator of the turnip brew. It is in apposition to Dr Pat.)

An Appositive Can Be a Noun, a Noun Phrase, or Noun Clause

An appositive can be a noun, a noun phrase, or a noun clause. For example:

  • The beast, a lion, was starting to show interest in our party.
  • (In this example, the appositive is a noun.)

  • The beast, a large lion with a mane like a bonfire, was starting to show interest in our party.
  • (In this example, the appositive is a noun phrase.)

  • The beast, a large lion with a mane like a bonfire which was looking hungry, was starting to show interest in our party.
  • (In this example, the appositive is a noun clause.)

You Can Introduce an Appositive

Quite often, appositives are introduced with terms like namely, i.e., that is, and in other words. For example:

  • The beast, namely a large lion with a mane like a bonfire, was starting to show interest in our party.


See also:

What is parenthesis in apposition?
What are nouns?
What are noun phrases?
What are noun clauses?
Choosing commas, dashes, or parentheses
What are non-restrictive clauses?
What are restrictive clauses?
The difference between i.e. and e.g.
Glossary of grammatical terms
 
If the appositive is just additional information (i.e., you could remove it from the sentence without any loss of meaning), then offset it from the remainder of the sentence using commas. (You could also use parentheses (i.e., brackets) or dashes instead of commas.) For example:

  • Jane Smith, who swam 100m in under a minute, wins the award for most improved swimmer.
  • Jane Smith (who swam 100m in under a minute) wins the award for most improved swimmer.
  • Jane Smith — who swam 100m in under a minute — wins the award for most improved swimmer.
When an appositive is just additional information (as in the examples above), it is classified as non-restrictive.

Read more about non-restrictive and restrictive clauses.
 
 
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