I'm trying to prepare for my final exam in syntax and have a few questions while reflecting on previous work. I'm not sure what is meant when asking which is immediately contained.

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    As for the tree, requests in the shape of "Draw me a syntax tree for this sentece" are off-topic, mainly because there is not the syntax tree. You would have to tell us exactly which theory you are assuming (X-bar, Minimalism, ..., do you work with IP or TP or even something else, ...), otherwise the question is simply not answerable. And you should first provide your attempted solution, possibly tell us what part you are unsure about and why, and then ask whether it looks okay/what might be improved, rather than having us do the full work for you. Then we might be able to help you. Dec 6, 2016 at 19:31
  • Anyway, this is two different questions that you are asking and we prefer having one question per post on this site, so I'd ask you to relocate your syntax tree question into a new question (after rewording your question according to my above comment) and leave this post with the question about immediate containedness. Dec 6, 2016 at 19:35
  • @Review I've taken the liberty of removing the (off-topic) syntax-tree request from the question, because I think the first part of the question is not bad and the post as a whole shouldn't be closed because of the (not so good) second part of the question. If OP still wants to know about the second question (the request for a syntax tree), he/she would have to do so in a new post anyway, of course with some more elaboration than "Please draw the tree for me", so I'd rather have this thread focussed on immediate containedness. Dec 7, 2016 at 20:17

1 Answer 1


Immediately contained = there are no nodes in between, e.g. in the (sub)tree

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V and DP are immediately contained in VP, but D is not (because the node DP is standing between V and D). D and NP are immediately contained in DP, but N is not immediately contained in DP, only mediately, because NP is in between, and so on.

If you prefer kinship terminology, reword "X is contained in Y" as "X is a daughter or granddaughter or great grandaughter or great great ... granddaughter of Y", and "immediately contained" as "X is a daughter, but not a granddaughter or great great ... granddaughter of Y" (i.e. there are no other mothers in the family line between X and Y).

Containedness is a relative term, i.e. you must always specify in which node something is (immediately) contained; w.r.t. to a whole syntax tree this notion can't apply, so the question "Which nodes are immediatly contained in a syntactic tree" doesn't really make sense if you don't say what nodes they are supposed to be immediately contained in.

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