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As apposition (of Latin appositio "sitting down, the suffix") or German admixture is referred to in the grammar a substantive attribute , which describes the relationship word closer. This relation word can be a noun or pronoun or a noun phrase ( noun phrase , part of a sentence ).

The apposition is interchangeable with the relational word and is usually in the same case as the relational word. When adjusting, it is usually enclosed by commas . Since the apposition behaves syntactically differently from attributes, it is also viewed by many other linguists as a category alongside these: Appositions are a type of adjunct . They are free statements, the lack of which in the context of the sentence does not impair the grammaticality of the sentence.

The term apposition was translated by Philipp von Zesen with the German word “ Aufifügung ”. Karl Heyse also spoke of an additional explanation .


A distinction is made between narrow and wide appositions according to the tightness of the syntactic connection between reference nouns and apposition . Salutations (" Mr. Meier") are z. B. narrow appositions, specifying additions to names of rulers (" Charlemagne ", "Otto II. ") On the other hand wide appositions.


Julian, Christian's brother , likes to take the train. (wide apposition)
I, the sister of the two , prefer to travel by plane. (wide apposition)
One of the brothers, the one with the scar on his chin , works as a conductor for the Federal Railroad. (wide apposition)
Mr. Kilian (close apposition), the director of the company (wide apposition), was shot.
Tolstoy's novel War and Peace was first published in 1868/69. (close apposition)
The city of Bonn (close apposition) lies on the banks of the Rhine, one of the most symbolic rivers in Europe . (wide apposition)

Constructions with “by name”, “especially” and “that is” are sometimes also called appositions.

The prices of the most important goods, namely food , were checked.
We are very careful with food, especially bananas .
The condition of fruit, that is, of perishable food , deteriorates in a few days.

Incongruent case

Occasionally wide appositions are encountered, the case of which does not correspond to the case of the reference word. Often in these cases an incongruent nominative or dative is used. If there is no article or article word next to the noun in the apposition, the nominative is considered correct in standard language:

The photographs of the young man, artist from India (not: artist ), met with great interest.

However, the apposition must be in the same case as the reference word even without an article, if otherwise misunderstandings would be possible:

The young man's brother, an artist from India (= the brother is an artist), lives in London today.
The young man's brother, an artist from India (= the young man is an artist), lives in London today.

With an article, a case congruence is always required:

The photographs of the young man, an artist from India, met with great interest.
The young man's brother, an artist from India (= the brother is an artist), lives today in London.
The brother of the young man, an artist from India (= the young man is an artist), lives in London today.

The incongruent dative, on the other hand, is not considered correct in the standard language :

The photographs of the young man, an artist from India , met with great interest.


  • Jan Claas Freienstein: The extended appositive. Narr, Tübingen 2008, ISBN 978-3-8233-6440-5 ( Tübingen Contributions to Linguistics 513).
  • Werner Hackel: Narrow appositional syntagms in contemporary German. More than a marginal grammatical problem. Peter Lang, Frankfurt et al. 1995, ISBN 3-631-48297-3 .
  • Wolfgang Schindler: Studies on the grammar of suspicious apposition units in German. Niemeyer, Tübingen 1990, ISBN 3-484-30246-1 .
  • Thomas Tinnefeld : The apposition in the French technical text of law and administration - using the example of the text type “regulation”. In: Hartwig Kalverkämper, Klaus-Dieter Baumann (Hrsg.): Technical text types. Components - Relations - Strategies. Narr, Tübingen 1996, ISBN 3-8233-4535-4 ( Forum for Technical Language Research (FFF) 25), pp. 153-175.

Web links

Wiktionary: Apposition  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Karl Wilhelm Ludwig Heyse (1838): Detailed textbook on the German language
  2. a b c Article Apposition in: Duden - Correct and good German , 7th edition. Mannheim 2011 (CD-ROM).
  3. The apposition ( canoonet ), accessed on September 26 of 2019.