Appositive Phrases

What is an appositive?

The word appositive comes from the Latin for “to put near.” An appositive is a noun (or noun phrase) which you “put near” another noun in order to describe it or identify it. We say that the appositive "renames" the noun.

Here are some examples:

 Check Your Understanding

  1. Which noun does “the biggest city in the world” rename?
  2. Which noun does “the capitol of Colorado” rename?
  3. Which noun does “the best football team in the U.S.” rename?

Appositives are extremely common in journalistic writing, where they are typically used to introduce people and sources. Study the following examples:

If the appositive is short, it can come before the noun that it renames, without using a comma.