Appositive Phrase - Explore What It Is, How It Is Formed and Used in Sentences, with Examples

Wondering what an appositive phrase could be? Would you like to learn what an appositive phrase is used for and how it can be formed? If yes, check out this article to explore the meaning, definition, formation and usage of an appositive phrase. Furthermore, go through the examples and try out the practice questions given in the article to develop an in-depth knowledge of the topic.

Table of Contents

What is an Appositive Phrase? – Meaning and Definition

Before we look into what an appositive phrase is, let us just have a revision of what the word ‘appositive’ refers to. An appositive is said to be a noun that is used immediately after another noun, having no other part of speech (for instance, a conjunction or a preposition) linking or combining the two nouns together, both having exactly the same syntactic function. An appositive can also be said to be an explanatory equivalent. An appositive phrase, therefore, refers to a noun phrase placed adjacent to the noun it modifies. In other words, an appositive phrase can be said to complement the noun in the sentence.

According to the Oxford Learner’s Dictionary, an appositive phrase, otherwise known as an ‘appositional’, is defined as “a noun phrase that comes immediately after another noun or noun phrase that refers to the same person or thing”. “The grammatical construction in which two usually adjacent nouns having the same referent stand in the same syntactical relation to the rest of a sentence”, is termed ‘apposition’, according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary. The Cambridge Dictionary defines an appositive as “having two nouns or noun phrases that refer to the same person or thing.”

How to Form and Use an Appositive Phrase in a Sentence? – Points to Remember

Having learnt what an appositive phrase or an appositional means, you can easily form and use one in a sentence. Have a look at the following points to know what all you need to take care of when using an appositive phrase.

  • An appositive phrase should come immediately after the noun.
  • As the appositive phrase describes and provides more information about the noun, it can be considered to be performing the role of an adjective.
  • It is already known that a noun can be used in the place of the subject or object in a sentence, and since an appositive phrase is placed adjacent to the noun, it can be used to complement the subject or the object in the sentence.
  • A comma can be used after/before the noun as there is no other part of speech combining the noun and the noun phrase. However, in some cases, when you tend to use a restrictive phrase, you need not use a comma. Placing the phrase adjacent to the noun means that it can either be placed before or after the noun it modifies. No matter where it is placed, make sure you always use a comma between the noun and the appositive phrase, when necessary. If used after the subject, place a comma before and after the appositive phrase.
  • Locating an appositive phrase can be an effortless task if you are able to locate the noun in the sentence and identify the function of the noun phrase used in apposition.
  • There can be more than one appositive phrase in a sentence. In sentences that contain both a subject and an object and in sentences that have multiple subjects or objects that have different characteristics, you will see more than one appositive phrase being used.
    • For example, consider this sentence: Bollywood actress Alia Bhatt has been highly appreciated for her performance in her newest film, ‘Gangubai from Kathiawadi’. In this sentence, you can see that the subject ‘Alia Bhatt’ and the object ‘Gangubai from Kathiawadi’, each have an appositive phrase describing them.

Examples of Sentences Using Appositive Phrases

Once you have gone through all the information you need to know about the formation and usage of an appositive phrase, the next thing to do is to look at some sentence examples to analyse the usage of a noun phrase in apposition.

Check out the examples given below.

Examples of Appositive Phrases Used to Complement a Subject

  • Salvia, my sister, lives in Paignton.
  • Ms. Angel, the Managing Director, will be presiding over the meeting today.
  • Central Perk, the oldest cafe in New York, has been shut down due to some unknown reasons.
  • The Colosseum, an oval amphitheatre situated in Rome, is one among the seven wonders of the world.
  • F.R.I.E.N.D.S., one of the top-rated series on Netflix, is loved by teenagers and adults alike.

Examples of Appositive Phrases Used to Complement an Object

  • We met Lorelai, the new manager.
  • Mahesh said that he could speak to Rakesh Sharma, the secretary of the Residents’ Association, about the irregular water supply.
  • The committee decided to make Gaurav, the head of sales.
  • Have you visited Paris, the world’s fashion capital?
  • Susan enjoys reading the works of Toni Morrison, the African American writer..

Check Your Understanding of Appositive Phrases

Go through the following sentences. Analyse and identify the appositive phrase in them.

1. Akela, the leader of the pack, was killed by Shere Khan, the tiger.

2. Mowgli, the man-cub, was found by Bhageera, the panther.

3. I met Mamta, Manju’s friend at the mall yesterday.

4. Coimbatore, a city in Tamil Nadu, is considered as the Manchester of the South.

5. Have you read the works of William Shakespeare, the Bard of Avon?

6. ‘Daffodils’, a poem by William Wordsworth, is known for its use of figurative language.

7. Dijo Jose’s new movie, ‘Jana Gana Mana’, starring Prithviraj and Suraj has achieved worldwide acclaim.

8. Lahaul and Spiti, the coldest desert in India and one of the coldest deserts in the world, is known for its scenic beauty.

9. Last week, Ashish Maximus, my brother from Canada, came to visit me.

10. Suresh bought an iphone 13, the latest one in the market.

Now, check the answers given below to see how far you have understood the usage of appositive phrases.

1. Akela, the leader of the pack, was killed by Shere Khan, the tiger.

2. Mowgli, the man-cub, was found by Bhageera, the panther.

3. I met Mamta, Manju’s friend, at the mall yesterday.

4. Coimbatore, a city in Tamil Nadu, is considered as the Manchester of the South.

5. Have you read the works of William Shakespeare, the Bard of Avon?

6. ‘Daffodils’, a poem by William Wordsworth, is known for its use of figurative language.

7. Dijo Jose’s new movie, ‘Jana Gana Mana’, starring Prithviraj and Suraj has achieved worldwide acclaim.

8. Lahaul and Spiti, the coldest desert in India and one of the coldest deserts in the world, is known for its scenic beauty.

9. Today, Ashish Maximus, my brother from Canada, is celebrating his last birthday as a bachelor.

10. Suresh bought an iphone 13, the latest one in the market.

Frequently Asked Questions on the Usage of Appositive Phrases in English

What is an appositive phrase?

An appositive phrase refers to a noun phrase placed adjacent to the noun it modifies. In other words, an appositive phrase can be said to be the phrase that complements the noun in the sentence.

What is the definition of an appositive phrase?

According to the Oxford Learner’s Dictionary, an appositive phrase, otherwise known as an ‘appositional’, is defined as “a noun phrase that comes immediately after another noun or noun phrase that refers to the same person or thing”. “The grammatical construction in which two usually adjacent nouns having the same referent stand in the same syntactical relation to the rest of a sentence”, is termed ‘apposition’, according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary.

What are the points to be remembered when using appositive phrases in sentences?

Here is what you have to keep in mind when making use of appositive phrases.

  • An appositive phrase is placed right before or after the noun that it modifies.
  • There can be more than one appositive phrase in a sentence.
  • Appositive phrases can describe multiple nouns, the subject and the object in the sentence.
  • Use a comma after the appositive phrase if the phrase comes before the noun and before the appositive phrase, if the noun comes first. However, in some cases, when you tend to use a restrictive phrase, you need not use a comma.
  • In case the appositive phrase comes in between the sentence, place it within a pair of commas.

Give some examples of sentences containing appositive phrases.

Here are a few examples of sentences having appositive phrases.

  • F.R.I.E.N.D.S., one of the top-rated series on Netflix, is loved by teenagers and adults alike
  • Susan enjoys reading the works of Toni Morrison, the African American writer..
  • Mahesh said that he could speak to Rakesh Sharma, the secretary of the Residents’ Association, about the irregular water supply.
  • Ms. Angel, the Managing Director, will be presiding over the meeting today.
  • Central Perk, the oldest cafe in New York, has been shut down due to some unknown reasons.

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