Appositive coma what it is and examples

Abraham McLaughlin

The appositive coma It is one that is used to separate appositive constructions. The latter are defined as the juxtaposition of two elements in nominal function, referring to the same extralinguistic entity.

These two elements form a unitary group, and no link or connector is interposed between them. As a general rule, the comma is a graphic sign used to indicate a short pause. In the case of appositive coma, it is used in appositive phrases bimembres, or phonically split.

That is, it is used when, between the nouns that are in apposition, there is a pause, thus separating them into two intonative groups.

Use of appositive coma

The appositive comma, as explained above, is used to separate appositional phrases. These phrases are characterized by being correferents. That is, they refer to the same object or being of reality. In addition, they must fulfill the same syntactic function and be self-sufficient, while their omission does not affect the function performed in the sentence.

Now, the comma will only be used when it is a bimembre apposition. In these cases, the comma marks a brief pause that separates the phrases into two phonic or intonative groups..

The first two sentences of the examples below contain appositive bimembres constructions, hence the use of the appositive comma. The last two are single-member appositive constructions (in bold).

1-New York, the Big Apple, dresses up for the premiere of the famous saga.

2-40 years ago the King of Rock, Elvis Presley.

3-I had never heard of your uncle Sam.

4-The former president Barack Obama participate in a summit organized by various NGOs.

Note that if the second appositive construction is not in the final position, a double comma is used, one preceding the phrase and the other succeeding it. If it is at the end of the sentence, the comma will be placed only in a posterior position.


1-Her husband, the owner of the company, I never had spare time.

2-He always talked very pleasantly with Amelia, the one who sold flowers at the corner store.

Other examples of the use of the appositive comma


1-This is Gervasia, Manuelito's. This is Francisca, that of Andrés Ramón, ... After the embarrassment of the greeting and the presentation, they sat on the benches, one next to the other, in the same order in which they had left the house, without finding what to do with their hands or where to put their eyes. The eldest, Genoveva, I would not be more than seventeen years old; some were good-looking, curly complexions, shiny black eyes, and all of them solid and healthy-looking.

(Excerpt from the work Doña Bárbara by Rómulo Gallegos)

2 - That it is already something that does not happen every day, because now what is fashionable is dirty play. I have also had the honor of meeting misia Herminia, your holy mother.

-Santa is little, Don Manuel.

(Excerpt from the work Canaima by Rómulo Gallegos)


  1. Casteele, A. V. (s / f). The appositive constructions in the Spanish journalistic discourse. Recovered from
  2. Fernández Fernández, A. (1993). The incidental function in Spanish: towards a new model of sentence scheme. Oviedo: University of Oviedo.
  3. Andino, M.E. (2007). Applied spelling. Tegucigalpa: Editorial Guaymuras.
  4. Martínez, H. (2005). Build well in Spanish: syntactic correction. Oviedo: University of Oviedo.
  5. Urrutia Cárdenas, H. and Álvarez, M. (2001). Historical morphosyntax scheme of Spanish. Bilbao: University of Deusto.

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