An APPOSITIVE is a noun or noun phrase that renames or restates another noun right before or after it. In other words, appositives provide additional information about the noun.
The Latin word for “appositive” actually means “to put near.” Appositives are often offset by commas, but sometimes no punctuation is needed. Let’s take a look:
“My dog FIDO dug up a bone in the yard.”
FIDO renames “my dog”; therefore, FIDO is the appositive.
Fido, MY YELLOW LABRADOR, loves to sleep by the fireplace.
MY YELLOW LABRADOR is the appositive phrase in this sentence, because it also renames “Fido.”
Appositives can provide essential information or extra (non-essential) information. If the information is essential to the sentence, you don’t need to put commas around the appositive. On the other hand, if the information is non-essential/extra (you could remove it and the sentence would still make sense), you put commas around the appositive. You can remember the difference by thinking “extra information gets extra commas.”
In the first example above, FIDO is essential to the sentence because it “my dog” doesn’t precisely name which of my dogs dug up the bone. In the second sentence, “Fido” precisely names who loves to sleep by the fireplace. You could remove “my yellow labrador” and the sentence would still convey the essential information (“Fido loves to sleep by the fireplace.”)
An appositive can be one word or a combination of words. Here are some appositive examples, all of which rename KITTEN.
For example: “The kitten, a tabby, is meowing for food.”
For example: “The kitten, a tiny tabby, is meowing for food.”
For example: “The kitten, a tiny tabby with green eyes, is meowing for food.”
For example: “The kitten, a small tabby with green eyes like daggers, is meowing for food.”
Where can appositives be in a sentence? They can be in the beginning, middle, and end. Below are examples of appositives renaming DAVID in various positions in the sentence.
*When the appositive begins the sentence, it looks like this:
“A lanky man, DAVID hid behind a flagpole during a game of tag.”
*When the appositive comes in the middle, it looks like this:
“DAVID, a lanky man, hid behind a flagpole during a game of tag.”
When the appositive ends the sentence, it looks like this:
“The other tag players were eluded by DAVID, a lanky man.”
Now you can be positive you know all about APPOSITIVES!
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