Appositio (apposition): Figure of addition in which words are placed side by side (in apposition to) each other with one word describing or clarifying the other; adjacent nouns or noun substitutes with one elaborating the other.


"It was one hundred and forty-four years ago that members of the Democratic Party first met in convention to select a Presidential candidate. Since that time, Democrats have continued to convene once every four years and draft a party platform and nominate a Presidential candidate. And our meeting this week is a continuation of that tradition. But there is something different about tonight. There is something special about tonight. What is different? What is special?

I, Barbara Jordan, am a keynote speaker."

-- Barbara Jordan, 1976 Democratic Convention Keynote Address

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"I am elated by the knowledge that for the first time in our history a woman, Geraldine Ferraro, will be recommended to share our ticket."

-- Jesse Jackson, 1984 Democratic National Convention Address

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"Each of us will remember what happened that day, and to whom it happened. We'll remember the moment the news came -- where we were and what we were doing. Some will remember an image of a fire, or a story of rescue. Some will carry memories of a face and a voice gone forever. And I will carry this: It is the police shield of a man named George Howard, who died at the World Trade Center trying to save others. It was given to me by his mom, Arlene, as a proud memorial to her son. This is my reminder of lives that ended, and a task that does not end."

-- George W. Bush, 9-20-01 Address to Congress and the Nation

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"Here, in the great, liberal state of Massachusetts, the cradle of liberty and abolitionism, a woman was arrested on a minor criminal charge."

-- Pauli Murray

Note: Here is a case of chained appositions with the "great, liberal state..." set in apposition to "Here" and the "cradle of liberty" set in apposition to Massachusetts.

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"And so I ask you tonight, the people of Massachusetts, to think this through with me. In facing this decision, I seek your advice and opinion. In making it, I seek your prayers."

-- Edward M. Kennedy, Chappaquiddick

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"John Fitzgerald Kennedy, a great and good President, a friend of all people of goodwill, a believer in the dignity and equality of all human beings, a fighter for justice, an apostle of peace, has been snatched from our midst by the bullet of an assassin."

-- Justice Earl Warren, Eulogy for John F. Kennedy

Note: This case of linked appositives is different from the first. Here, each apposition continues to elaborate ONLY on the initial noun.

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American Rhetoric.
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