Suppose I have the following syntax tree:

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Is there a term for the nodes identified by "S", "NP", "VP", and "V"? For a generic tree, I guess you would just call them "non-terminal nodes" or "branch nodes", but I was wondering if there was a term for those nodes that is specifically used in the context of syntax.

  • 4
    Non-terminal (node) is the correct term. If you're being extremely formal, labelled non-terminal node.
    – jlawler
    Commented Oct 4, 2013 at 16:46
  • No, I wouldn't, thank you. Feel free to accept it anyway, however.
    – jlawler
    Commented Oct 7, 2013 at 23:50

2 Answers 2


jlawler writes that non-terminal (node) is, in fact, the correct term here. He also notes that, if you want to be extremely formal, you can call it a labeled non-terminal node.


A Category, is a more generic term, but when it comes natural language process or Finite state automata, non-terminal node is the correct term

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