Appositives and appositive phrases sound very technical, but people use them in writing and speech all the time. Read our guide below to make sure you can recognise an appositive and punctuate it correctly.\r\nWhat Are Appositives and Appositive Phrases?\r\nAn appositive is a noun or noun phrase that renames, defines, or identifies another noun. In short, appositives give us more information about a noun.\r\nThis can be as little as a single word. Take the sentence below, for example:\r\nMy friend Rachel loves dogs.\r\nHere, \u2018Rachel\u2019 is an appositive that tells us more about the noun \u2018friend\u2019.\r\nBy contrast, an appositive phrase may be several words long:\r\nA childish scream of delight that I found both terrifying and exhilarating, the noise came from upstairs.\r\nHere, the full appositive phrase is 'a childish scream of delight that I found both terrifying and exhilarating', which tells us more about the noun 'noise' in the main clause. And as you can see, in this case we have given the appositive phrase before the noun it is modifying.\r\nWe can also add an appositive at the end of a sentence:\r\nShe chose to wear a deerstalker, a hat associated with Sherlock Holmes.\r\nHere, the appositive tells us more about the noun 'deerstalker'. And as these examples show, while you have options for where to place an appositive in a sentence, it should always be next to the noun it modifies.\r\nPunctuating Appositives\r\nAs you can see above, some appositives and appositive phrases are set apart with commas. You can also do this with dashes or brackets:\r\nMiss Ramirez \u2013 a Harvard graduate \u2013 was pleased with the decision.\r\nMy father (who works as a chef) is very kind.\r\nThe rule for when to set apart appositives with punctuation is:\r\n\r\n\tDo not set apart appositives that are essential to identifying a noun.\r\n\tUse punctuation to set apart non-essential information.\r\n\r\nThese are known as restrictive and non-restrictive appositives, respectively.\r\nRestrictive Appositives (No Punctuation)\r\nA restrictive appositive is essential to understanding the identity or meaning of a noun. Typically, this will be because it is more specific than the noun it appears alongside. For instance, we could say:\r\nThe author J. K. Rowling has published a new book.\r\nHere, the main noun is the generic term 'author'. The appositive, meanwhile, is 'J. K. Rowling', which is far more specific and tells us the identity of the author in question. And since we need the appositive here to identify the noun it modifies, we do not set it apart from the rest of the sentence.\r\nTo demonstrate, without this appositive, the sentence would say:\r\nThe author has published a new book.\r\nThis is much less helpful, as we no longer know which author the writer means! And if you cannot remove an appositive without changing the overall meaning of the sentence, you know it is restrictive.\r\nNon-Restrictive Appositives (Set Apart with Punctuation)\r\nA non-restrictive appositive gives us extra information about a noun, but it is not essential to understanding its identity or meaning. For example:\r\nJ. K. Rowling, the successful author, has published a new book.\r\nHere, the appositive phrase is 'the successful author'. This tells us something about J. K. Rowling, but we can easily remove it from the sentence without changing its overall meaning:\r\nJ. K. Rowling has published a new book.\r\nAnd because it is non-essential, 'the successful author' is non-restrictive here and we set it apart from the rest of the sentence with commas.\r\nSummary: Appositives and Appositive Phrases\r\nAppositives and appositive phrases sound complicated, but they are an everyday part of English. Just remember:\r\n\r\n\tAppositives are nouns or noun phrases that rename, identify, or define another noun to give us more information about it.\r\n\tAppositives can go anywhere in a sentence, but they should appear next to (either just before or just after) the noun they modify.\r\n\tIf you could remove an appositive without changing the meaning of a sentence, it should be set apart with commas, dashes, or brackets.\r\n\r\nAnd don\u2019t forget that our expert editors and proofreaders are always happy to check your punctuation, grammar, or any other aspect of your writing.