Appositives  can cause confusion in the Structure section of the TOEFL, test because an appositive can be mistaken for the subject of a sentence. An appositive is a noun that comes before or after another noun and has the same meaning.

Example : Sally, the best student in the class, got an A on the exam.

In the example sally is the subject of the sentence and the best student in the class can easily be recognized as an appopsitve phrase because of the noun student and because of the commas. The sentence says that sally and the best student in the class are the same person. Note that if you leave out the appositive phrase, the sentence still makes sense ( sally got an A on the exam ).

The following example shows how an appositive can be confused with the subject of a sentence in the Structure section of the TOEFL test.


Example 1 :

……….  George, is attending the lecture.

(a)    Right now

(b)   Happily

(c)    Because of the time

(d)   My friend


In this example you should recognize from the commas that George is not the subject of the sentence. George is an appositive. Because this sentence still needs a subject, the best answer is (D), my friend.  Answer (A), (B), and (C) are incorrect because they are not subjects. The next example shows that an appositive does not always come after the subject; an appositive can also come at the beginning of the sentence.


Example 2 :

……………. Sarah rarely misses her basketball shots.

(a)    An excellent basketball player

(b)   An excellent basketball player is

(c)    Sarah is an excellent basketball player

(d)   Her excellent basketball play

In this example you can tell that sarah is the subject and misses is the verb  because there is no comma separating them. In the space you should put an appositive for sarah, and sarah is an excellent basketball player, so answer (A) is the best answer. Answer (B) and (C) are not correct because they each contain the verb is, and an appositive does not need a verb. Answer (D) contains a noun, play, that could possibly be an appositive, but play is not the same as Sarah, so this answer is not correct.

The Following chart outlines the key information that you should remember about appositives :


An appositive is a noun that comes before or after another noun and is generally set off from the noun with commas. If a word is an appositive, it is not the subject. The following appositive structures are both possible in English :
                                   S,                                          APP,                                                   V

Tom,                    a really good mechanic,                      is fixing the car.

                                                   APP,                                         S                                          V

A Really good mechanic ,                     Tom                             is fixing the car


TOEFL EXERCISE Skill 3 : Each of the following sentences contains an appositive. Underline the subjects once and the verb twice. Circle the appositive phrases. Then, indicate if the sentences are correct  (C) or incorrect (I).

  1. ———– The son of the previous owner, the new owner is undertaking some fairly broad changes in management policy.
  2. ———– Last semester, a friend, graduated cum laude from the university.
  3. ———– Valentine’s  day, February 14, is a special holiday for sweethearts.
  4. ———– At long last, the chief executive officer, has decided to step down.
  5. ———– Tonight’s supper, leftovers from last night, did not taste any better tonight than last night.
  6. ———– The only entrance to the closet, the door was kept locked at all times.
  7. ———– In the cold of winter, a wall heating unit, would not turn on.
  8. ———– The new tile pattern, yellow flowers on a white background, really brightens up the room.
  9. ———– The high-powered computer the most powerful machine of its type, was finally readied for use.
  10. ———– A longtime friend and confident, the psychologist was often invited over for Sunday dinner.

Answer Exercise Skill 3 :

  1. Correct
  2. Incorrect
  3. Correct
  4. Incorrect
  5. Correct
  6. Correct
  7. Incorrect
  8. Correct
  9. Incorrect
  10. Correct

Refrensi : ” Longman Preparation Course For The TOEFL TEST – THE PAPER TEST-, PHILIPPS”