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Chapter 2. Definitions > Appositives (“Next-To” Words)

Appositives (“Next-To” Words)

In some cases, a definition is placed after an unfamiliar term and is separated from the rest of the sentence by commas, dashes, or parentheses. Alternatively, the definition is placed before the new term, and the new word is separated from the rest of the sentence. The part that is set off by commas is said to be an appositive or to be in apposition. Apposition comes from word segments meaning next to; the word or phrase is next to its definition or label.

  • The vitamins were advertised as having highly salubrious—healthy—effects for most adults.

    Even if you are not familiar with the word salubrious, you learn its meaning from the definition, which is separated from the rest of the sentence by the dashes. Salubrious means “healthy.”

  • The property will depreciate, decrease in value, when the noisy new highway is built nearby.

    The meaning of depreciate is given by the phrase set off by the commas. Depreciate means “to decrease in value.”


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