Appositive and infinitive phrases

Appositive phrase

An appositive is basically a re-naming of a word that immediately precedes it.

Neeta, my sister, works abroad.

Here the noun Neeta and the appositive ‘my sister’ refer to the same person.

My father, an avid reader, has a huge collection of books. (Appositive – an avid reader)

An appositive can be a noun phrase. It can also be a gerund phrase or an infinitive phrase.

Absolute phrase

An absolute phrase is usually a group of words consisting of a noun or pronoun and a participle. It may also contain some related modifiers.

Absolute phrases do not modify any specific word in the rest of the sentence. They modify the entire sentence.

God willing, we shall meet again.

Here the absolute phrase God willing modifies the entire sentence.

Absolute phrases are always separated from the rest of the sentence with a comma.

The weather being turbulent, they cancelled the journey.

An absolute phrase doesn’t necessarily have to go at the beginning of the sentence.

The singer signed autographs into the night, her face beaming happily.

Infinitive phrase

An infinitive phrase consists of an infinitive and any modifiers associated with it. Infinitive phrases can act as adverbs, adjectives and nouns.

His decision to become an actor was not supported by his family.

Here the infinitive phrase ‘to become an actor’ modifies the noun decision and hence it acts as an adjective.

She wanted to find a job.

Here the infinitive phrase ‘to find a job’ acts as the object of the verb wanted.

She went to college to study physics.

Here the phrase ‘to study physics’ tells us why he went to college. It acts as an adverb.