*An appositive is a noun or pronoun (or a phrase) set beside another noun or pronoun to add more information.
Your dog Skip is cute.
Your friend Barbara is nice.
*An adjective clause is a group of words (including a subject and verb) that acts as an adjective. Example:
My essay, which is about Julius Caesar, has to be at least 400 words.
My son, who is almost two, is learning to count.
*If the appositive or adjective clause has nonessential information, set it apart with commas. In other words, you could remove it and the meaning of the sentence wouldn’t change.
Sharon’s English teacher, Mrs. Smith, teaches yearbook class. (Sharon only has one English teacher, so the name of the teacher is not essential information.)
Nate’s sister, who is in college now, plays basketball. (The fact that she is in college is just a side note that has nothing to do with basketball.)
Jonathan’s only car, a blue BMW, is for sale.
Mrs. Marteney, whose son goes to Stone Bridge, teaches English.
KC Whitaker, a basketball player, wrote his essay.
*If the appositive or adjective clause has essential information, it should NOT be set off by commas.
Would the boy who is wearing the red shirt please stand up? (Here there is more than one boy in the room, so the shirt color is essential information.)
It was nice to meet your sister Che’Maiah. (Here the person has more than one sister, so the name is essential information.)
The straight A student Cameron Robinson gave his report. (Here there is more than one straight A student, so the name is essential.)
*The appositive can also go before the noun or pronoun it describes. In this case, you always use a comma.
An avid reader, Morgan finished the book in a few days.
A revolving model of the solar system, Brandon’s science project won first place.
The fastest sprinter on the team, Alexandra finished the race first.
Practice: Underline the appositives in the following sentences and place commas when necessary.
1. The biggest continent Asia has 17 million square miles.
2. The hog-nosed bat the smallest mammal is an inch and a half long.
3. Cristina whose sister is also a student at this school graduates in two years.
4. Ricci’s teammate Corey scored two points for the team.
5. Eddie a new student asked Andrew how to take the on-line vocabulary quizzes.
6. Justin a sophomore spends a lot of his spare time at Starbuck’s.
7. Jay’s friend Nilly ate lunch with him today.
8. Jen who is wearing new shoes will give her speech next.
9. Carl who is never tardy arrived in class several minutes early.
10. English my favorite subject is fifth period.
11. The girl who is wearing a jacket should be the one to go outside.
12. Courtney club president organized the construction of the homecoming float.
13. A brilliant strategist Andrew won the board game.
14. Colleen asked Emily who lives next door for a ride to school.
15. A sixteen year old Michael babysat the younger students at the carnival.
The difference between that and which You use that for essential information, and which for nonessential information.
*If removing the phrase would change the meaning of the sentence, use that. (You can sometimes omit the word that.) Examples:
Sharon wanted to throw a birthday party that all of her friends would want to attend.
I’d like to check out a book that will be interesting to read.
KC read the essay that Zack wrote.
I adopted the dog that was the most playful.
The movie that Morgan saw was funny.
*If you can remove the phrase and the meaning of the sentence does not change, use which, which should be preceded by a comma. Examples:
Ricci wrote his research paper, which was about the Great Depression.
Corey and Justin completed their Sir Gawain newspaper project, which they called “The Excalibur Times.”
Cristina aced her SAT’s, which were on a Saturday morning.
Add commas when necessary.
16. Would the boy who is wearing the yellow shirt please collect the papers?
(There are ten boys in the room.)
17. Would the boy who is wearing the yellow shirt please collect the papers?
(There is one boy in the room.)
18. Would you please hand me the pencil that is on the top shelf?
19. Would you please hand me the pencil which is in the drawer?
20. Andrew’s sister Katie is on the yearbook staff.
(He has two sisters.)
21. Andrew’s sister Katie is on the yearbook staff.
(He has one sister.)
Practice: Fill in the blanks with the word that or a comma and the word which.
22. I finally got my Master’s degree __________ was in Education.
23. I need to find the cereal _________ was in that commercial.
24. Starry Night _________ was painted by Vincent Van Gogh hangs in the museum.
25. I need to write a paper __________ is about World War II.
You can also use appositives or adjective clauses to combine sentences.
Example: Queen Elizabeth was the daughter of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn. She was born on September 7, 1533 in Greenwich Palace.
Queen Elizabeth, the daughter of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, was born on September 7, 1533 in Greenwich Palace.
COMBINE the following sentences, which were copied from the following website: