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Using Adjectives and Adjective Phrases as Appositives

Traditional grammars define adjectives as “words that describe nouns.” An adjective phrase is a phrase that consists of an adjective functioning as the phrase head plus any modifiers or complements.

In grammar, an appositive is a word, phrase, or clause that supports another word, phrase, or clause by describing or modifying the other word, phrase, or clause. Adjectives and adjective phrases sometimes function as appositives. Examples of adjectives and adjective phrases as appositives include the following:

  • The fire, warm and inviting, beckons me.
  • That new light bulb, bright and yellow, really warms the room.
  • I will buy you a new car, perfect and shiny.
  • The man, uneducated but smart, taught himself to read.
  • The woman, afraid of snakes, refused to visit the reptile room at the zoo.
  • My daughter likes the boy, fond of movies, who brought her a cookie.
  • The single girl, happy for the new couple, cried anyway.
  • My teacher, passionate about learning, reads a new book every day.


Brinton, Laurel J. & Donna M. Brinton. 2010. The linguistic structure of Modern English, 2nd edn. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company.
Hopper, Paul J. 1999. A short course in grammar. New York: W. W. Norton & Company.
Huddleston, Rodney. 1984. Introduction to the grammar of English. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

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