The definition of an appositive is a word or word group that defines or further identifies the noun or noun phrase preceding it.
Rule: When an appositive is essential to the meaning of the noun it belongs to, don’t use commas. When the noun preceding the appositive provides sufficient identification on its own, use commas around the appositive.
Example: Jorge Torres, our senator, was born in California.
Explanation: Our senator is an appositive of the proper noun Jorge Torres. Our senator is surrounded by commas because Jorge Torres is a precise identifier.
Example: Our pediatrician, André Wilson, was born in California.
Explanation: Our pediatrician is still a relatively precise identifier so André Wilson is not considered essential.
Example: CEO Julie Minsky will be our featured speaker.
Explanation: Julie Minsky is necessary to help identify CEO, so no commas are used.
Example: Julie Minsky, CEO, will be our featured speaker.
Explanation: Julie Minsky is a precise identifier so the appositive is surrounded by commas.
Example: The girl who received a scholarship is my sister.
Explanation: The girl by itself is not sufficient information.
Example: My sister, who received a scholarship, will attend Harvard.
Explanation: My sister is a relatively precise identifier.
Example: My friend Harvey is an animal lover.
Explanation: My friend is not a precise identifier because one may have numerous friends.
Example: Harvey, my friend, loves animals.
Explanation: Harvey is a precise identifier.
Add commas if needed.
1. Ella my little sister will escort you to your seat.
2. My little sister Ella will escort you to your seat. Hint: You have two younger sisters.
Pop Quiz Answers:
1. Ella, my little sister, will escort you to your seat.
2. My little sister Ella will escort you to your seat. CORRECT. No commas if you have two (or more) younger sisters.
Posted on Sunday, September 2, 2007, at 7:11 pm113 Comments on Commas with Appositives