Grammar Lesson: The Appositive

By — John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Updated on Dec 13, 2010

An appositive is a noun or pronoun (often with modifiers) that is placed beside another noun or pronoun to explain or identify it. Essentially, an appositive is an additional word or group of words used to tell more about who (or what) that noun or pronoun is. No verb appears in an appositive phrase.

In each sentence below, the appositive phrase is underlined, and the appositive is italicized.

    Michelle Rogers, the lifeguard at Smith's Beach, made three saves last month.
    ''The Ugly Duckling,'' Hans Christian Andersen's story, has entertained many children over the years.
    My daughter's car, a Toyota, has certainly served her well.
    The Little Red Deli, our neighborhood store, is more than seventy-five years old.
    Eleven, Joe's house number, is also his uniform's number.
    The cheetah, the fastest land animal, sprinted across the plains.
    Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, the famous author, won many writing awards.

Activity 1

Insert an appositive phrase into each of these five sentences. Remember that verbs are not included in appositives or appositive phrases.

  1. I just finished reading my favorite book, _____.
  2. Our class members recently visited Arizona's capital city, _____.
  3. Barack Obama, _____, attended Harvard College.
  4. December, _____, seems to go by very quickly each year.
  5. Juan's best friend, _____, won a scholarship to college.

(Answers will vary.)

Activity 2- Appositive, Verb, or Prepositional Phrase?

Indicate whether the underlined phrase is an appositive (A), verb (V), or prepositional (P) phrase by writing the corresponding letter on the line before the sentence.

  1. ____ The machinist was elated with his substantial raise.
  2. ____ LeBron James, an NBA star, can easily score against most of his opponents.
  3. ____ Lupita played well in the second half of the soccer game.
  4. ____ The boxer used his most powerful weapon, the left hook, very often during the match.
  5. ____ Some of the marchers had been exhausted by the hot sun during the parade.
  6. ____ Will you lend me your eraser for next period's class?
  7. ____ Abraham Lincoln, a man of many talents, was the sixteenth U.S. president.
  8. ____ ''Red, the color of my aunt's car, is also my favorite color,'' Mitch stated.
  9. ____ Patsy, a mischief maker, creates havoc for her family members.
  10. ____ Warren has never forgotten his sisters' birthdays.
  11. ____ These ducks in the photograph are so cute together.
  12. ____ Physics has been Jeremy's most challenging class this semester.
  13. ____ The crowd cheered throughout the concert.
  14. ____ Marty, a World War II veteran, was John's uncle.
  15. ____ James Short had kept the prized autograph in a safe place.


  • Sentences 2, 7, 8, 9, and 14 include appositive phrases.
  • Sentences 1, 5, 6, 10, and 12 include verb phrases.
  • Sentences 3, 4, 11, 13, and 15 include prepositional phrases.
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