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I'm having difficulties in determining the heads of phrases/sentences. I know that the head determines the syntactic function of the whole phrase and I understood some simple examples but in the following example:

A: What will the rebel ministers do?

B: They will vote against government plans to privatize hospitals.

why is will the head of the sentence B?

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    You are right. The head determines the category of the phrase, though not the function. The head of a clause is a verb phrase, and the head of a verb phrase is a verb -- thus it follows that the head word of a clause is a verb. In your B example, the main clause is the entire sentence, which has the verb phrase "will vote against government plans to privatize hospitals" as its head. The head of this verb phrase is the finite verb "will". The other verbs in the sentence, "vote" and "privatize", are heads of embedded subordinate clauses, not the main clause (the sentence).
    – BillJ
    Oct 5 '18 at 15:47
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    Yes, that's right for canonical clauses.
    – BillJ
    Oct 5 '18 at 16:36
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    Incidentally, I said in my first comment that the head does not determine the function. This is because a noun phrase, for example, may function as a subject ("Fast cars are fun); an object ("I like fast cars") or a complement ("These are fast cars"). In those examples, "cars" is head of an NP that has three different functions.
    – BillJ
    Oct 5 '18 at 16:44
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    I think it's important to mention that it depends on your theory of syntax. For example, in MP the head of a canonical clause is T (stands for tense). In GB it was I or Infl; before that it was S. Verbs are base-generated in V.
    – Alex B.
    Oct 6 '18 at 13:31
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    What AlexB says has nothing to do with 'head', which is always the most important element in a phrase. The head word is obligatory – its omission results in a loss of grammaticality. The frameworks he talks about are highly theoretical and have never been accepted as standard, or even viable, and hence his comments are unhelpful and an unnecessary diversion. Here's a link to UCL's (University College London) website, which you may find helpful link
    – BillJ
    Oct 7 '18 at 7:24
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They will vote against government plans to privatize hospitals

You are right. The head determines the category of the phrase, though not the function. The head of a clause is a verb phrase, and the head of a verb phrase is a verb -- thus it follows that the head word of a clause is a verb.

In the above example, the main clause is the entire sentence, which has the verb phrase "will vote against government plans to privatize hospitals" as its head. The head of this verb phrase is the finite verb "will". The other verbs in the sentence, "vote" and "privatize", are heads of embedded subordinate non-finite clauses, not the main clause (the sentence).

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