Diagramming Appositives

We diagram an appositive by placing it in parentheses beside the noun it describes or "renames." We place modifiers of the appositive directly underneath.

  • Esperanza's friend Isabel is a student.
  • The first public library, the Philadelphia Library, was one of Benjamin Franklin's first projects.
  • William Patterson of New Jersey, the spokesman for the small states, received support from Yates.

If the appositive contains adjectives, we place them on slanted lines directly beneath the appositive.

  • The woman in the blue dress is Rosalba, a farm worker.

Examples 1

Diagram these sentences to practice diagramming appositives:

  1. My sister, a gourmet cook, prepared escargot.
  2. The Federalist, a collection of eighty-five essays, supported ratification of the Constitution of 1787.


1. We place the appositive cook in parentheses beside the subject "sister." We place the appositive's modifiers directly beneath it.

2. We place the appositive collection in parentheses beside the subject, "The Federalist." We place the modifiers of collection underneath.

Examples 2

Diagramming appositives requires that we recognize an appositive in a sentence. Here, we shall practice recognizing appositives. In the sentences below, write the appositive word that would appear in parentheses in a sentence diagram.

  1. Joe's cat Muffin has a crooked tail.
  2. I think that Bernard, an athletic explorer, hiked Mount Everest.
  3. Have you seen Fido, Matt's adorable mutt?
  4. My English teacher, Mr. Cabrera, also teaches Spanish.
  5. Nan's friend Izzy wrote a poem about bees.
  6. Do you remember Peg, my cousin from New Jersey?
  7. We boarded the Molly B, a small steamship on the river.
  8. Olivia took the train, the only transportation available.
  9. Rob's brother James designs kitchens.
  10. They arrived in Pasadena, a city near Los Angeles.


  1. (Muffin) renames cat.
  2. (explorer) renames Bernard.
  3. (mutt) renames Fido.
  4. (Mr. Cabrera) renames teacher.
  5. (Izzy) renames friend.
  6. (cousin) renames Peg.
  7. (steamship) renames Molly B.
  8. (transportation) renames train.
  9. (James) renames brother.
  10. (city) renames Pasadena.