What Is an Appositive? (with Examples)

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