sorry if this seems really basic!

I am stuck on what to name 'because' in the syntax tree I am drawing, which is for the sentence: 'The boy gave Alice a present because he likes her'.

I initially thought that it would be a CP but also considered that like 'and' it would be a conjunction.

Can some please clarify for me? Much thanks!

  • 1
    I do not really see this as a request to draw a syntax tree, rather one how to syntactically classify the beacuse in this context. I am sure there were whole monographs written on the topic. Neither it is a grammar usage question. Both stated reasons for putting it on hold seem not to apply. – kkm Apr 1 '18 at 7:01

It depends on who you ask. 'Because' is not in the same syntactic category as 'and', as they show different behaviour:

(1) a. I am looking for her because she is missing.

b. She is missing and her boyfriend is dead.

(2) a. Because she is missing, I am looking for her.

b. *And her boyfriend is dead, she is missing.

More traditional approaches categorise 'because' as a subordinating conjunction in the same category as since, as, if, as long as, although, etc., as opposed to coordinating conjunctions like and, or and but. More modern approaches subsume the category of subordinating conjunctions under prepositions instead. A prominent grammar that advocates the preposition view is the Huddleston and Pullum grammar. Pullum also makes the cause that because is a preposition here. The basic idea is that a preposition may subcategorise for a full clause, which is what 'because' can do.

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