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This page pertains to UD version 2.

appos: appositional modifier

An appositional modifier of a noun is a nominal immediately following the first noun that serves to define, modify, name, or describe that noun. It includes parenthesized examples, as well as defining abbreviations in one of these structures.

Sam , my brother , arrived
appos(Sam-1, brother-4)
Bill ( John 's cousin )
appos(Bill-1, cousin-5)
The Australian Broadcasting Corporation ( ABC )
appos(Corporation-4, ABC-6)

appos is intended to be used between two nominals. In general, modulo punctuation, the two halves of an apposition can be switched. For example, you could also say My brother, Sam, arrived. There are somewhat similar constructions with titles where the title is less than a full nominal, such as state senator Paul Mnuchin, where reversal is impossible or would require insertion of a determiner to make a full nominal. Some grammatical traditions, descending from Latin, call state senator in such cases a “fixed (or close) apposition” and take the name as the head. However, we seem to have only one nominal not two here. For example:

President Obama

*Obama President

state senator Paul Mnuchin

*Paul Mnuchin state senator

appos should not be used in such cases. However, the examples can usually be rendered in a fuller form, corresponding to “loose (or wide) apposition” in the Latin tradition, where there are two full phrases. Then the relation appos is appropriate, for example:

Paul Mnuchin , the senior Oregon state senator
appos(Mnuchin-2, senator-8)

As is often the case, there are borderline cases. In formal writing, punctuation is usually a good signal of apposition, but there are certainly cases of apposition where no punctuation is used:

the leader of the militant Lebanese Shiite group Hassan Nasrallah
appos(leader-2, Hassan-9)
flat(Hassan-9, Nasrallah-10)

Good tests include to ask whether the two halves are full nominals, whether the two halves can be swapped or not, and whether there is case or agreement concord (in a language with rich morphology). So we have:

I met the French actor Gaspard Ulliel
nsubj(met-2, I-1)
det(actor-5, the-3)
amod(actor-5, French-4)
obj(met-2, actor-5)
appos(actor-5, Gaspard-6)
flat(Gaspard-6, Ulliel-7)
I met Gaspard Ulliel the French actor 
nsubj(met-2, I-1)
obj(met-2, Gaspard-3)
flat(Gaspard-3, Ulliel-4)
det(actor-7, the-5)
amod(actor-7, French-6)
appos(Gaspard-3, actor-7)
I met Gaspard Ulliel , the French actor 
nsubj(met-2, I-1)
obj(met-2, Gaspard-3)
flat(Gaspard-3, Ulliel-4)
punct(Gaspard-3, ,-5)
det(actor-8, the-6)
amod(actor-8, French-7)
appos(Gaspard-3, actor-8)
I met French actor Gaspard Ulliel
nsubj(met-2, I-1)
amod(actor-4, French-3)
obj(met-2, actor-4)
flat(actor-4, Gaspard-5)
flat(actor-4, Ulliel-6)

While items like abbreviations are generally reversable, the determiner test suggested above doesn’t quite work there, since the determiner seems to belong with the main item:

The ABC ( Australian Broadcasting Corporation )
appos(ABC-2, Corporation-6)

In the rare cases of more than one appositive nominal, all nouns should be marked as modifying the first noun, rather than being chained:

Sam , my brother , John 's cousin , arrived
appos(Sam-1, brother-4)
appos(Sam-1, cousin-8)

Note however that nested apposition cannot be completely excluded. It may occur in combination with coordination:

You can choose between four subjects , language ( German or French ) , economy , technology and art .
appos(subjects, language)
conj(language, economy)
conj(language, technology)
conj(language, art)
cc(art, and)
appos(language, German)
conj(German, French)
cc(French, or)

appos is also used to link key-value pairs in addresses, signature blocs, etc. (see also the list label):

Steve Jones Phone: 555-9814 Email: jones@abc.edf
flat:name(Steve-1, Jones-2)
list(Steve-1, Phone:-3)
list(Steve-1, Email:-5)
appos(Phone:-3, 555-9814-4)
appos(Email:-5, jones@abc.edf-6)

appos in other languages: [bej] [bg] [bm] [cop] [cs] [de] [el] [en] [et] [eu] [fi] [fr] [fro] [ga] [gsw] [hy] [it] [ka] [kk] [no] [pt] [qpm] [ro] [ru] [sl] [sv] [swl] [tr] [tt] [u] [urj] [vi] [yue] [zh]