I read, that

  • one sentence can have different syntax-trees
  • what is considered a phrase is dependent on the grammar used
  • there are a lot of grammars, basically divided into two groups: phrase-structure grammars and dependency grammars

This focus on context creates for me the problem to find out, how sentences which are made of a main clause and subclause are represented by a syntax tree or maybe two ?

problematic sentences (e.g.):

  • I like turtles, because I like green animals.

  • I like turtles and I like turkeys.

  • I like turtles, because I like green stuff, because green symbolizes luck.

  • 1
    Typically it's represented by a branching syntax tree, mathematically equivalent to parentheses (but taking up more room on the page) See the Logic Study Guide and the Verb Phrase Study Guide for more specific examples.
    – jlawler
    Commented Nov 27, 2014 at 16:32

1 Answer 1


This could very well be explained in a difficult way, but it may also be that you are seeking an easy answer.

Basically you could say; One clause=one syntax tree

If a sentence consists of several clauses, you could draw several syntax trees.

  • 1
    Please give some examples of this. I am struggling to picture how one sentence could be effectively shown by multiple syntax trees.
    – curiousdannii
    Commented Dec 16, 2014 at 23:56
  • Nonsense! Nonsense! Commented Dec 17, 2014 at 9:23

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