What are apposition and its classification

What are apposition?

In linguistics, apposition is called a syntactic construction in which, in a sentence, two grammatical elements are joined in an unconventional way, that is, without the need for a link or connector to intervene, and one of which explains or completes the other.

Usually, appositions serve to modify the nuclei of noun phrases, adding content through juxtaposition, the introduction of commas or prepositions such as “de”. For example, in the sentence:

“The Liberator Bolívar was born in Caracas, capital of Venezuela.”

We have two examples of appositions: “Bolívar”, introduced to add information to the name of the sentential subject (The Liberator) and thus specify who is being talked about; and on the other hand “capital of Venezuela”, which after a comma adds information about the name of the city.

Now, depending on the type of function and the structure they present, appositions can be of two different types:

Unimembre or specific appositions, in which there is no phonic pause (represented by commas in writing), and which consists of the union of:

  • Two common nouns, one of which presents a figurative or evaluative meaning, for example: “Did you see that thief lawyer ?” or “The prophet king will address his people.”
  • A common noun and then a proper noun, fulfilling an obvious specific role, for example: “The Danube River flows from west to east” or “ Professor Vargas was run over.”
  • A proper name and then a common noun, in which there is usually agreement of gender and number between the nouns, always in the third person. For example: “ Five million people live in Buenos Aires city .”

Bimembered or explanatory appositions, in which the terms are separated by commas, parentheses or other types of phonic pauses. Sometimes, they can present prepositions. In this case, both terms must necessarily refer to the same referent.

This type of appositions can be formed by:

  • A proper name and then a title or common name, which explains who the first one is, for example: “ Delacroix , Duke of Brittany, has just arrived” or “That’s Bermúdez over there , my English teacher.”
  • A title or common name and then a proper name, which operates in the same way as the previous one, but inverted, for example: “The then Pope , Pius XII , blessed the German troops” or “That sheep , Dolly , was the first clone of history.”
  • A common name and another common name or equivalent, not always concordant in gender and number, for example: “The woman , a Romanian , danced on stage” or “ I , the undersigned , accept the terms of the contract.”


  • “Apposition” on Wikipedia.
  • “The apposition” (video) in Educatina.
  • “Apposition” in Wikilengua.
  • “Appositions and subsections” in Hispanoteca.eu.