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Understanding the Structure of Appositives

The word “apposition” originates from two Latin words which means placed by or put near to. If a word is in apposition, then it is placed near another word to explain it or to identify it in some way.

We often speak of a person and then add something to explain who the person is, or to identify him in some way. This is done by means of Appositive, our topic of study.

An Appositive is a nounOpens in new window or a pronounOpens in new window that is placed next to another noun or pronoun to identify or give additional information about it.

An appositive mainly serve to explain or identify another noun that it follows. The appositive is separated from the rest of the sentence by commas.

You must understand from the definition that appositives can be either nouns or pronouns. The other parts of speechOpens in new window that give additional information about the referent are not appositives.

For example, survey the sentence below:

  • Mr. Erick Moore, Lawyer, was employed this afternoon.
  • Who is Mr. Erick Moore? He is Lawyer.
  • We therefore say that the noun Lawyer is identifying who Mr. Erick Moore is.
  • This concludes the fact that Lawyer is an appositive.

Let’s survey another example using the sentence below.

My daughter Nana paid visit to me three days ago.

We must understand the fact that the daughter we are talking about is Nana, implying that the noun, Nana, is identifying or modifying the noun phrase, My daughter. This proves that Nana is an appositive

In English, we can have more than one appositive; each modifying its own noun or pronoun in a single sentence.

Survey the structure below:

  • I met Chima, the son of Sally Mendy, the son of Mr. Fanny Olu, the son of Chief Iroha, on the road.

Judging critically this structure, you must understand that Sally Mendy is the father of Chima; Mr Fanny Olu is the father of Sally Mendy; and Chief Iroha is the father of Mr. Fanny Olu.

This stands for the fact that:

  • The son of Sally Mendy is appositive to Chima
  • The son of Mr. Fanny Olu is appositive to Sally Mendy
  • The son of Chief Iroha is appositive to Mr. Fanny Olu

In actual fact, this type of construction is very important, especially when you don’t want to use many words to describe or explain something in details.

Another point to note is it's easier to understand appositive structures than how other expressions are structured. As a learner, or student, you should learn how to construct appositive structures because they are very important in most of your writings.

Now that you’ve learned the fundamentals of appositives I bet you’ll relish climbing up the hill to a higher study of appositives where you will learn about essential and nonessential appositivesOpens in new window.

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  • References
    • No Grammar Tears 2: Marthus-Adden Zimboiant Appositives (Pg 325-326) By Marthus-Adden Zimboiant.

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