What Is an Appositive?

An appositive is a noun that renames another noun.
Quick Refresher

Remember that nouns are words that name people, places, things, or ideas, and pronouns are words that take the place of nouns.
We use these to add more information into our sentences and give more information about someone or something that we have already named.

My mother, a lovely woman, baked cupcakes for my birthday.

Esther, my sister with dark hair, sang a song.

Mike and Bri graduated from UWEC, my alma mater.

What do they do?

I said that these are nouns that rename another noun or pronoun.

What do I mean by that?

Esther, my sister with dark hair, sang a song.

Esther is the subject of the sentence. It is also a noun.

The word sister is renaming Esther.

It is a noun that gives us more information about Esther, and we could even substitute sister for Esther because they are both referring to the same person.

So, sister is a noun that renames another noun, Esther. That makes sense, doesn't it?


Do you know much about phrases? Well, phrases are groups of words that come together to act as one part of speech.

Esther, my sister with dark hair, sang a song.

appositive sentence diagram
The appositive is the single word that is doing the renaming (sister).

The phrase is that single word plus all of the words that are modifying it (my sister with dark hair).

Sentence Diagramming

To diagram these, put them in parentheses after the noun that they are renaming.

appositive phrase
Add any words that modify it on slanted lines just like other modifiers.

Now, you, my lovely readers, can go on to learn more about sentence diagramming!

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