Difference Between Appositive and Adjective Clause

Main Difference – Appositive vs Adjective Clause

A clause is a group of words that contains a subject and predicate. A clause can be classified into two main categories known as independent clause and dependent clause. Independent clauses express a complete thought and stand alone as sentences. Dependent clauses, on the other hand, cannot express a complete thought. Both appositive and adjective clause belongs to this second category, dependent clause. An adjective clause modifies or describes a noun or pronoun. An appositive identifies, defines or renames a noun or pronoun. This is the main difference between appositive and adjective clause.

This article explains,

1. What is an Appositive? –  Grammar, Meaning, Function and Examples

2. What is an Adjective Clause? – Grammar, Meaning, Function and Examples

3. Difference Between Appositive and Adjective Clause – Comparison of Grammar and Function 
Difference Between Appositive and Adjective Clause - Appositive vs Adjective Clause Comparison Summary

What is an Appositive

The term appositive can refer to a noun, noun phrase or noun clause that sits next to another noun in order to rename or describe it. As stated above, an appositive can be a noun, noun phrase or a noun clause. Observe the appositives in the following sentences to observe these different functions.

Our dog, Rusty, is only two years old. (noun)

He read a story about Thomas Edison, the great American inventor. (noun phrase)

Dr. Gulati, the man who won the race, is from India. (noun clause)

The beast, a huge lion that looked ferocious, attacked him. (noun clause)

Appositives are usually separated by the rest of the sentence by commas, brackets or dashes if the information contained in the appositive is not essential to identify the noun. If the appositive contains essential information, it should not be separated by commas.

Difference Between Appositive and Adjective Clause

Bandit,  the adorable Siberian Husky, loves water.

What is an Adjective Clause

An adjective clause is a dependent clause that acts as an adjective.  The adjective clause can modify or describe the noun or pronoun. Adjective clauses are also known as relative clauses. They usually start with a relative pronoun (that, which, who, whose, whom) or a relative adverb (when, where, or why). Given below are some examples of adjective clauses.

Mary, who didn’t like Diana, was angry and jealous.

The boy who stole my bag was arrested yesterday.

The candidates who scored less than 65 marks will not be selected for the course.

The large bungalow, which belonged to Mr. Anderson, is rumored to be haunted.

The woman whose husband died won a lottery.

Main Difference - Appositive vs Adjective Clause

He rented this pretty cottage, which belongs to Mrs. Simpson.

Difference Between Appositive and Adjective Clause


Appositive  is a noun, noun phrase, or noun clause that sits next to another noun in order to rename or describe it.

Adjective Clause is a dependent clause that acts as an adjective. 


Appositives can be nouns, noun phrases or clauses.

Adjective Clause is a clause.

Relative pronouns and adverbs

Appositives do not usually begin with relative pronouns or adverbs.

Adjective Clauses always begin with relative pronouns or adverbs.


Appositives define, rename or describe the noun or pronoun.

Adjective Clauses describe or modify the noun or pronoun.

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About the Author: Hasa

Hasa has a BA degree in English, French and Translation studies. She is currently reading for a Masters degree in English. Her areas of interests include literature, language, linguistics and also food.

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