I am trying to understand syntax trees for sentences, i have been working through linguistics by myself and am having trouble understanding the structure of syntax trees (English is my second language). These are the sentences:

"The flight of the humble bee was so baffling."

"The scientists found that the honeybee flaps its wings in a different manner."

"An insect needs to be stabilized by its wings."

A completed syntax tree and explanation would be greatly appreciated to help me understand this area of linguistics.

  • I think you'll need to clarify which particular theory of grammar or syntax you're working in. There is no single convention for "syntax tree".
    – Colin Fine
    Nov 11 '13 at 14:57
  • 0[1[[The flight 3[of 4[the 6[humble] bee]]] 2[was 5[so baffling]]]] S(0) -> NP(1) + VP(2) NP(1) -> DET + N + PP(3) PP(3) -> P + NP(4) NP(4) -> DET + AdjP(6) + N VP(2) -> Vcop + AdjP(5) AdjP(5) -> Deg + Adj
    – user483
    Nov 11 '13 at 16:40
  • 1
    Try this web-based GUI: copy-paste these sentences there. Disclousre: I'm somewhat involved in the backend software.
    – prash
    Nov 11 '13 at 17:26
  • The first sentence has deletions -- so is not an intensifier like very; rather, so...that forms a construction, with some unspoken that-clause following baffling, e.g: so baffling (that Indef can't understand it). Likewise, the second one contrasts different with some other manner of flapping, perhaps the one mentioned in the first sentence.
    – jlawler
    Nov 11 '13 at 18:28
  • 1
    This question appears to be off-topic because it is about help with specific syntax trees. Apr 1 '14 at 10:13

It's not clear from your question whether you are wondering just about syntactic structure trees for the sentences you gave or about syntactic structure trees more generally.

If the latter, it might be useful to note that syntactic structure trees may provide different kinds of information: constituent structure, the syntactic categories of constituents, the grammatical functions of constituents, etc. A given kind of information may play a role in one theory but not in another. You can read more about syntactic structure trees on our company's website.

Regarding the sentences you asked about, you might find useful the following tree for your first sentence, which follows the syntactic framework in The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language (eds. Huddleston & Pullum).

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  • Hi Shai, welcome to the site! I really like the look of your tree visualisation. Do you offer a tool online to generate visualisations like this one? I could only find more general comments on syntactic structure on your website.
    – robert
    Nov 13 '13 at 14:07
  • Hi Robert, thanks! Currently our tree generator is for internal use only. We are working on making it public in the future. You are most welcome to subscribe to our mailing list to receive updates.
    – Shai Cohen
    Nov 13 '13 at 15:15

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