As an appositive, a pronoun must appear in the same case as its antecedent noun or pronoun. In the examples above, the pronoun must appear in the subjective case because it stands in apposition to the noun scouts, the subject of the sentence. He is the correct form of the pronoun.
Although nouns in English don't reflect case distinction, the noun boys is the direct object of the verb; it must appear in the objective case. Therefore, him is the correct form of the pronoun.
1.3 APPOSITIVES IN SUBJECT / PREDICATE
Appositives can appear within the subject or predicate of a sentence; however, in the majority of constructions appositives function to explain or identify the subject. As a result, appositives are typically located before the main verb. But an appositive may also follow the main verb, in apposition to a noun or pronoun located within the predicate. Below antecedent nouns and pronouns are underlined; the appositive appears in accentuated text.
My brother Thomas is a great tennis player.
(The appositive Thomas identifies which brother is a great tennis player. Thomas is in apposition to the noun brother, the subject of the sentence. We should note, moreover, both antecedent and appositive together function grammatically as the subject.)
The park ranger found all four boys, Philip's sons, huddled in an ancient fallen log.
(The appositive phrase Philip's sons identifies its antecedent noun boys, the direct object of the verb found. Antecedent and appositive appear within the predicate, where they function together as the direct object of the verb.)
The girl flying the red kite is Pat, Larry's sister
(The appositive identifies Pat, the subject complement.)
You probably saw them, Saul and Perry.
(The compound appositive identifies the pronoun them, the object of the verb.)
Your observation appears to be a black hole, a collapsed neutron star.
(The appositive explains the noun black hole, a subject complement.)
It's another fine day in sunny San Diego, America's finest city.
(The appositive identifies the preceding noun.)
1.4 POSITION OF APPOSITIVES
An appositive always appears on the same side of a verb as its antecedent. In other words, verbs don't come between an appositive and its noun or pronoun antecedent. Accordingly, an appositive in the subject will have a subjective antecedent; an appositive in the predicate will have an objective antecedent. Appositives are, in fact, case sensitive.
Whenever an appositive appears to be separated by a verb from its antecedent noun or pronoun, the resulting construction is typically a subject complement, not an appositive. In fact, appositive constructions strongly resemble subject complements; frequently the only significant difference between the two constructs lies in the relative position of verb and word group in question. Note the position of the main verb relative to appositives and subject complements in the table below.
1.5 APPOSITIVES ARE NOT SUBORDINATE
Although appositives (words, phrases, clauses) are always associated with noun or pronoun antecedents, appositives are not subordinate constructions; they are not, for example, considered to be modifiers. Rather, appositives have the same or similar function as their antecedent nouns and pronouns, to which they are in apposition. Appositives are, in fact, considered noun or noun equivalents.
Not only do appositives function as equivalents of their noun or pronoun antecedents, but also they function as an integral part of their antecedents. To wit, an appositive and its antecedent will function together (as a single unit) as the subject of a sentence; likewise, an appositive to the direct object of a verb is considered an intergral part of the direct object. Below appositive words, phrases, and clauses appear in accentuated text; antecedents are underlined.
My favorite sport, swimming, is Toby's favorite sport, too.
(The single-word appositive identifies the noun sport, the simple subject. The complete subject includes the appositive, swimming, e.g., My favorite sport, swimming.)
Cousin Tom's Mercedes-Benz, a white Estate Wagon with luxurious appointments, is the talk of the block.
(The appositive phrase identifies its antecedent noun Mercedes-Benz, the simple subject. The complete subject is Cousin Tom's Mercedes-Benz, a white Estate Wagon with luxurious appointments.)
The player's fear she would lose the match weighed heavily upon her performance.
(The appositive clause explains the noun fear, the simple subject. The complete subject is The player's fear she would lose the match. Note the appositive clause could also be deemed a relative clause, modifying its antecedent noun fear. Distinguishing between the two kinds of clauses, relative or appositive, is sometimes open to interpretation.)
Have you read The Sun Also Rises, a novel by Ernest Hemingway?
(The appositive phrase explains its antecedent noun, The Sun Also Rises, which functions as the simple direct object of the verb. The complete direct object is The Sun Also Rises, a novel by Ernest Hemingway.)
Position yourselves behind us archers.
(The pronoun us functions as the simple object of a preposition. The noun archers identifies its antecedent pronoun. The complete object of the preposition is us archers.)
1.6 APPOSITIVES ARE REDUCTIONS OF LONGER FORMS
Reduction is simply the elimination of unnecessary words, or verbiage. Writers employ reduction in two ways: (1) through the omission of superfluous words within a subordinate clause, then reducing the clause to a phrase, and (2) by reducing an independent clause (a complete sentence) to a subordinate clause or phrase, then incorporating the subordinated word group into an independent clause--effectively combining two sentences into a single sentence.
REDUCTION OF SUBORDINATE CLAUSE
An appositive functions to explain or identify the noun or pronoun to which it is in apposition, often with a corresponding reduction in verbiage. An appositive is frequently a reduction of a longer adjectival construction, or relative clause. A relative clause is always introduced by a relative pronoun or relative adverb. Appositive phrases, on the other hand, are introduced by a noun or pronoun, i.e., a nominative, or its equivalent, such as a gerund or infinitive acting as a noun. (Note that the appositive itself may have adjective premodifiers, which, according to convention, are not introductory words.)
Determining whether a word or word group is appositional or adjectival may sometimes be confusing or open to interpretation. (See usage note.)
An appositive can be used to combine two or more separate sentences into a single sentence, with a corresponding reduction in verbiage.
1.7 APPOSITIVES PRECEDING THEIR ANTECEDENTS
An appositive usually follows its noun or pronoun antecedent, but sometimes the appositive will precede its antecedent. Below appositives appear in accentuated text; antecedents are underlined.
The first man on the moon, Neil Armstrong has become a legend.
An American Staffordshire Terrier, Jimmy was Celia's favorite dog.
A favored contender for the prize, Amanda had the crowd cheering wildly.
Masters of Kendo, they were formidable opponents.
1.8 PUNCTUATION WITH APPOSITIVES
Appositives may be described as restrictive or nonrestrictive. A restrictive appositive is necessary to sentence meaning; these appositives are not set off (separated) from the rest of the sentence. On the other hand, a nonrestrictive appositive, essentially parenthetical, is unnecessary to sentence meaning; these appositives are set off from the rest of the sentence. When the need arises to set off an appositive, a comma is the usual choice. (More on restrictive & nonrestrictive elements.)
A restrictive appositive is essential to sentence meaning and is not set off from the rest of the sentence. Because a restrictive appositive is necessary to sentence meaning, its omission from a sentence substantially alters the meaning expressed by a sentence. Essential (restrictive) content is never separated from the rest of a sentence. (See parenthetical expressions.) Below are several examples of restrictive appositives. In English a great many restrictive appositives are single words.
My brother Paul helped bring in the groceries.
(Without punctuation to set off the appositive, the sentence suggests that Paul is not the only brother to the unidentified speaker. Because there are, hypothetically, other brothers, the inclusion of Paul becomes essential. The restrictive appositive allows the reader to know which brother is referenced.)
The sculptor Michelangelo will forever be remembered for his numerous contributions to art.
(To understand the meaning of the sentence, the appositive Michelangelo is required; therefore, the appositive is restrictive. In its absence, we would not know the person to whom reference is made.)
Her dog Rusty likes to chase rabbits.
(The restrictive appositive suggests that Rusty is not the only dog owned by the unidentified person. To know which dog is referenced, then, Rusty must be mentioned, i.e., the appositive is necessary to the understanding of the sentence.)
An appositive that is not essential to the meaning of a sentence should be set off from the rest of the sentence. A nonrestrictive appositive is simply supplemental, or parenthetical, material added to the sentence for purposes of clarification or explanation. If the appositive element were omitted, the meaning of the sentence remains essentially unchanged.
Bob Marley, the famous reggae singer, passed away quite suddenly.
(That Bob Marley was a famous reggae singer doesn't alter the essential meaning of the sentence, which is, he passed away suddenly. The appositive merely offers additional, but nonessential, information regarding the subject.)
My only living relative, Joan, is coming to visit next week.
(Since Joan is the speaker's only living relative, the appositive merely offers supplemental information. Appositive omitted, the meaning of the sentence remains essentially the same.)
Yesterday we read the Poway Pickle, a tabloid magazine, from cover to cover.
(Omitting the appositive would not substantially alter the meaning of this sentence; therefore, it is parenthetical content and should be set off from the rest of the sentence.)
1.9 APPOSITIVES AND TITLES
When an appositive forms part of a title, the appositive should not be separated from its antecedent noun or pronoun.
The explorers Lewis and Clark
William of Ockham
John the Baptist
Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer
2.0 APPOSITIVE VS ADJECTIVE
Appositives and adjectives are closely related in function and, sometimes, appearance. Whether a word, phrase, or clause is functioning as an appositive or as an adjective is sometimes unclear and/or open to interpretation. Consider the following examples.
The janitor next door discovered the corpse.
(Here's an easy one. Clearly next door is an adjective phrase modifying the noun janitor. Which janitor? The one next door.)
Kim's uncle, a seaman, was killed aboard a commercial tuna seiner.
(Is this phrase adjectival or appositional or both? The matter is open to interpretation. What do you think?)
Famous Russian painter Alexei Venetsianov created images of peasantry in the classic style.
(A clear example of an appositive.)
The feeling her life was in danger encouraged Sheila to pause on the threshold.
(Adjective clause or appositive clause? A case may be made for either.)
The player's fear she would lose the match weighed heavily upon her performance.
(The appositive clause explains the noun fear, the simple subject. The complete subject is the player's fear she would lose the match . . .)
† Usage Note
Although most students of grammar will find the appositive definition (found at the beginning of this section) to be entirely adequate, it should be noted that some grammarians argue against such a simplistic definition. Some grammarians claim that appositives and their antecedents may be defined beyond this narrow scope, in that appositives can include other parts of speech beyond nouns and pronouns--where, for example, a verb is in apposition to an antecedent verb. Additionally, it is argued, that appositive elements are not necessarily juxtaposed, but that one may appear some distance removed from the other, separated not merely by a mark of punctuation but by entire phrases and/or clauses.
The bound captive struggled, strained and pulled, at the ropes.
(It can be argued that the three verbs, struggled, strained, and pulled, don't actually express distinct actions, but that the last two verbs are in apposition to the first, in that they act to explain the first verb.)