The appositive

Hi sweetie,

An appositive is a noun or noun phrase that renames another noun right beside it. The appositive can be a short or long combination of words.

Here you have some appositive examples, all of which rename insect:

  • The insect, a cockroach, is crawling across the kitchen table.
  • The insect, a large cockroach, is crawling across the kitchen table.
  • The insect, a large cockroach with hairy legs, is crawling across the kitchen table.
  • The insect, a large, hairy-legged cockroach that has spied my bowl of oatmeal, is crawling across the kitchen table.

Here are more examples:

  • During the dinner conversation, Clifford, the messiest eater at the table, spewed mashed potatoes like an erupting volcano.
  • My 486 computer, a modern-day dinosaur, chews floppy disks as noisily as my brother does peanut brittle.
  • Genette’s bedroom desk, the biggest disaster area in the house, is a collection of overdue library books, dirty plates, computer components, old mail, cat hair, and empty potato chip bags.
  • Reliable, Diane’s eleven-year-old beagle, chews holes in the living room carpeting as if he were still a puppy.

Punctuate the appositive correctly

The important point to remember is that a nonessential appositive is always separated from the rest of the sentence with comma(s).

When the appositive begins the sentence, it looks like this:

  • A hot-tempered tennis player, Robbie charged the umpire and tried to crack the poor man’s skull with a racket.

When the appositive interrupts the sentence, it looks like this:

  • Robbie, a hot-tempered tennis player, charged the umpire and tried to crack the poor man’s skull with a racket.

And when the appositive ends the sentence, it looks like this:

  • Upset by the bad call, the crowd cheered Robbie, a hot-tempered tennis player who charged the umpire and tried to crack the poor man’s skull with a racket.

Last comment and exercises

The appositive, in Portuguese, is called aposto explicativo. This indicates that an appositive is an “explanation” of the name just beside it.

Go and check your knowledge doing some exercises.

grammar-block-006-apposition
Do you understand this cartoon?

Beijo do pai!

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