They are nouns that rename other nouns, and we use them to give more information about someone or something that we've already named. In this lesson, we'll look more closely at what they are, and we'll see how they're diagrammed.
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. Both words are referring to the same person.
So, sister is a noun that renames another noun, Esther.
Mike and Bri graduated from UWEC, my alma mater.
Do you know much about phrases? Phrases are groups of words, without both a subject and a verb, that come together to act as one part of speech.
Esther, my sister with dark hair, sang a song.
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).
Nonessential or Essential? (+ How to Punctuate Them)
There are two types of appositives (nonessential and essential), and it's important to know the difference because they are punctuated differently.
Nonessential - Use Commas
Most are nonessential. (These are also called nonrestrictive.) That means that they're not an essential part of the sentence, and sentences would be clear without them. Set these apart from the sentence with commas.
My sister, a French teacher, studied in France during high school.
My mom, a talented woman, recorded a lullaby CD.
My husband, David, is allergic to cats.
Essential - Don't Use Commas
Some are essential to the meaning of the sentence. (These are also called restrictive.) If these weren't in the sentence, the meaning of the sentence would be unclear.
The movie Green Book won the award for best picture.
The author Victor Hugo was born in France.
Do you see how we need those in order to understand the meaning of those sentences? Without them, we wouldn't know which movie or author the sentence was referring to.
Intensive pronouns are used to emphasize another noun or pronoun. We can also call these emphatic appositives. Never use commas with these.
I made a sandwich for the president himself.
My sister herself paid for my popcorn.
To diagram these, put them in parentheses after the noun that they're renaming.
Add any words that modify it on slanted lines just like other modifiers.
If you want to teach or learn
grammar the easy way, follow our step-by-step program which clearly
lays everything out and allows you to move at your own pace. The
Get Smart Grammar Program is presented in a logical sequence, so it's not an
overwhelming mishmash of information. Just watch the videos and complete your assignments. Before you know it, you'll be a grammar and sentence diagramming pro!