In Anderson's Essentials of Linguistics, a X-bar structure tree contains nodes labeled with '. What does the prime mean? What do N', V', and T' mean? Thanks.

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  • 2
    That's the "bar" in "X-bar".
    – Draconis
    Jul 9 at 2:52
  • Anderson et al. (2nd ed.), “ So not only do all heads have phrases, and all phrases have heads, but there is what we might call a “mid sized sub-phrase” in every phrase (or an “intermediate phrase”). This mid-sized phrase is called X-bar (written X’), which is where the theory gets its name.” ecampusontario.pressbooks.pub/essentialsoflinguistics2/chapter/…
    – Alex B.
    Jul 9 at 13:41

1 Answer 1


This is simply an alternative way of writing the eponymous X-bar itself — back in the day, X' was sometimes easier than typewriting .

This should be clear from context from a vague understanding of the theory.

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