ESL Term:


ESL/EFL Glossary: A Guide to applied linguistics terminology.


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appositive:  An appositive is noun (or noun phrase) that is juxtaposed with another noun and helps to define or clarify the noun as in the following examples (the appositive is underlined the noun being described or modified is in bold):

       Marvin the paranoid android had a brain the size of a planet.

       My friend Tom got engaged to the Judge's daughter, Becky.

By convention, appositives can be offset by commas, but are not always offset by commas. In the following example, the appositive is offset by commas:

       Ramses II, ruler of Egypt from 1279 BC to 1213 BC, invaded the

       Hittite Empire.


Appositives can be restrictive or non-restrictive.


Restrictive appositives define the noun and are essential to its meaning:


       The body was that of a peasant, the son of the village blacksmith.


Non-restrictive appositives are not essential to the meaning of the noun. In other words, we know exactly what the noun is even without the appositive.


       Drizzt Do'Urden, the dark elf, saw the orcs approaching and drew

       his  blade.



Here is an ESL role-play with appositives as one of the language targets.