An ELT Glossary : Apposition


Two  phrases (often noun phrases and with modifiers) juxtaposed, each referring to the same thing, person, place etc. The two phrases are said to be "in apposition" while the second is "the appositive".

Examples (taken from The Guardian, 22/10/14)

  • Doctors and patient groups denounced the scheme after Dr Martin Brunet, a GP in Guildford, Surrey, revealed ...
  • The BCCI president, N Srinivasan, could yet emerge as a key figure...
  • ...  with its entry-level Dacia Sanderothe butt of so many Top Gear jokes – selling for £5,995.
  • Arx Pax, a small company from Los Gatos, California, is now offering ...
  • Traditionally, teff is baked into injera, a sourdough flatbread,” says...

As the examples show, apposition is a common feature in journalistic genres, where it enables the writer to identify or give concise information about the person/thing etc being described.

Other structures may also be appositives eg an infinitive clause

  • His dream, to visit Australia, was never realised

The equivalent reference is shown by the fact that, in all these examples, you could combine the two phrases saying X is/was etc Y - eg :

  • Dr Martin Burnet is a GP in Guildford , Surrey
  • His dream was to visit Australia