Relative Clause vs. Appositive Essay

An appositive is a word placed after another word to explain or identify it. The appositive always appears after the word it explains or identifies. It is always a noun or a pronoun, and the word it explains is also a noun or pronoun. Example: My uncle, a lawyer, is visiting us.

My teacher, Miss Marshall, is very strict.

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An appositive phrase consists of the appositive and its modifiers which may themselves be phrases. Example: My radio, an old portable, is in the repair shop.

The boys climbed the mountain, one of the highest in the West.


A relative clause—also called an adjective or adjectival clause—will meet three requirements. * First, it will contain a subject and verb.
* Next, it will begin with a relative pronoun [who, whom, whose, that, or which] or a relative adverb [when, where, or why]. * Finally, it will function as an adjective, answering the questions What kind? How many? or Which one? The relative clause will follow one of these two patterns:

relative pronoun or adverb + subject + verb
relative pronoun as subject + verb
Here are some examples:
Which Francine did not accept

Which = relative pronoun; Francine = subject; did accept = verb [not, an adverb, is not officially part of the verb].

Where George found Amazing Spider-Man #96 in fair condition Where = relative adverb; George = subject; found = verb. That dangled from the one clean bathroom towel

That = relative pronoun functioning as subject; dangled = verb. Who continued to play video games until his eyes were blurry with fatigue Who = relative pronoun functioning as subject; played = verb.

Avoid creating a sentence fragment.

A relative clause does not express a complete thought, so it cannot stand alone as a sentence. To avoid writing a fragment, you must connect each relative clause to a main clause. Read the examples below. Notice that the relative clause follows the word that it describes. To calm his angry girlfriend, Joey offered an apology which Francine did not accept. We tried our luck at the same flea market where George found Amazing Spider-Man #96 in fair condition. Michelle screamed when she saw the spider that dangled from the one clean bathroom towel. Brian said goodnight to his roommate Justin, who continued to play video games until his eyes were blurry with fatigue.

Examples of Sentences with Relative Clauses

1. The family fulfills functions that are divided among many specialized institutions in modern societies. 2. Yesterday I called our friend Julie, who lives in New York. 3. The photographer called to the Queen, who looked annoyed. 4. Last week I bought a new computer, which I don’t like now. 5. I really love the new Chinese restaurant, which we went to last night. 6. The term networking, which has appeared in popular speech, refers to using or even developing social networks. 7. My boss, who is very nice, lives in Manchester. 8. My sister, who I live with, knows a lot about cars. 9. My bicycle, which I’ve had for more than ten years, is falling apart. 10. My mother’s house, which I grew up in, is very small.

Examples of Sentences with an Appositive Phrase

1. Queen Victoria, one of England’s greatest monarchs, ruled for sixty-three years. 2. Jane made the salad, a tossed one with French dressing. 3. Harvey Jensen, the pro at the country club, is giving me golf lessons. 4. James Hilton’s book, Lost Horizon, has been filmed twice. 5. Chemistry, Sue’s favorite subject, is easy for her.

6. Jerry is visiting in Peoria, his old home town.  7. Mr. and Mrs. Miller, our neighbors for the past eight years, are moving to Dallas. 8. Have you ever read The Red Pony, a novel by John Steinbeck? 9. Groucho Marx, the star of many film comedies, also had his own television show. 10. The boys repaired our television set, an eighteen-year-old portable.


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