Module 9, Verbals and Phrases, Lesson 8:

Appositives and Appositive Phrases

An appositive is a word or phrase that renames the noun. It makes positively sure you know what the writer is talking about. We say that an appositive is "in apposition" to the noun, which means that it's next to the noun.
My uncle, a doctor, is moving to New Jersey.
(Uncle and doctor are the same person. Doctor is in apposition to uncle.)
That apple, a Golden Delicious, is best for eating as is.
(Apple and Golden Delicious are the same thing. Golden Delicious is in apposition to apple.)
My sister Marcy wants to be a lawyer.
(Sister and Marcy are the same person. Marcy is in apposition to sister.)
An appositive phrase is the appositive and its modifiers.
My uncle, a doctor in California, is moving to New Jersey.
That apple, a variety of apple called Golden Delicious, tastes best when eaten as is.
Think of appositives and appositive phrases as if they were in parentheses.
My uncle (a doctor) is moving to New Jersey.
That apple (a variety called Golden Delicious) is best for eating as is.
An appositive can be a word, a phrase, or even a clause. Noun clauses are covered in the Clauses module.

The appositive usually follows the noun it modifies.

George, my best friend, is from Hawaii. (The appositive noun is friend.)
My best friend George is from Hawaii. (The appositive is George.)

An appositive that precedes the noun it modifies will be separated from the sentence by a comma.

A famous Arabian horse, the Darley Arabian is one of the ancestors of many modern Thoroughbreds.
(Horse is the appositive noun. Darley Arabian is the subject.)

Practice What You've Learned

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Part 1

Click on the appositive noun in each sentence. Then click the word it renames to draw an arrow.
My mother's favorite flowers, hollyhocks, don't grow well where we live.
I don't get much time for my favorite pastime, reading, during the school year.
My mother served a very smelly cheese, Limburger, to her guests.
Rome, a popular city with tourists, is filled with history.
Michelle, a great soccer player, wants to play professionally.
When Hernan Cortes arrived in Mexico, he was welcomed by the Aztec emperor Montezuma.
I am writing a script for a television show, a documentary on skateboarders.
That kitchen counter, a marble slab, was imported from Italy.
The red color in that candy comes from a bug, the cochineal.
Little Women, a book by Louisa May Alcott, is one of my favorites.

Part 2

Click on all the words in each appositive phrase in each sentence.
The Kuvasz, an ancient Hungarian working dog, was bred to guard flocks.
Kevin's dream car, a cherry red Ferrari, is way out of his budget.
In 1873 Budapest became the largest city in Hungary when two cities, Buda and Pest, were joined.
I want to be like my hero Bo Jackson and play several sports professionally.
The Metropolitan, a famous art museum, is a must if you visit New York City.
The lion, the king of the jungle, once lived in India as well as Africa.
Robert Wadlow, the tallest man ever, was 8 feet 11.1 inches tall when he died at 22.
The monopod, a mythical animal, looked like a person with one giant foot.
Coffee, that essential-to-many caffeinated brew, was discovered by a goat herder watching his goats eat the berries of a coffee plant.
Sara has enjoyed watching the horror classic Revenge of the Killer Tomatoes for the twelfth time.