Questions tagged [syntax]

The study of the internal structure of expressions, especially between words and phrases, and the principles and processes that determine it. This includes words order, but also the grammatical relations that hold between words, as well as structural ambiguity, binding, reference, and similar issues. Common approaches are numerous phrase structure grammars (GPSG, HPSG, LFG, G&B, X-bar, Minimalism, ...) and, on the other hand, dependency grammars.

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How can I draw these syntax structure tree? (from A to B)

Carnie syntax (4th edition) Chapter 3 GPS 6 (g) The very young child walked from school to the store. How can I draw a tree structure of 'from school to the store'? I haven't learned X-bar theory yet.
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How do you make a syntax tree for this sentence [closed]

The sentence is "the happy girl wearing a green dress returned her book to the library” this is what I have so far I am really struggling on working out how to draw this syntax tree can someone ...
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Conditional protases for suggestions: "Maybe if I have a read first and then we meet up later?"

In English it's possible to use what looks like a conditional protasis in conjunction with maybe, what about, or how about to informally make polite suggestions. For example, I recently got an email ...
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How come you can say "I am glad that ...", but you can't say "I am fine that ..." [closed]

For example, you might say "I am glad that we are having pizza for dinner", but you wouldn't say "I am fine that we are having pizza for dinner". Or you might say "I am fine ...
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Stacking of prepositions in English?

The Cambridge Grammar Of The English Language recognises the existence of intransitive prepositions (p. 612): The case for allowing prepositions with no complements is most compelling where the same ...
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How are the meanings of "you will" in English formally categorized?

As someone with only my vague instincts as a native speaker to go off of, I would expect the breakdown comes to something like: "You will find that he is not too receptive to this sort of thing&...
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Is telicity a property of verbs or predicates?

In English, the verb "walk" is atelic. One could in principle walk indefinitely. Fatigue and aging limit the activity, but that fact is not an inherent part of the meaning of the verb. ...
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Category & Function

I have the next two sentences, and I'm asked to state the function and category of the parts in bold. I am introduced to the concepts of function and category, but I was applying what I learned about ...
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Questions on sources and basic ideas of nanosyntax

Recently I came across a post talking about nanosyntax. I searched for it and found out what it basically is. My questions are: where should one start studying it (which authors, books, and ...
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I'm confused by the term 'adjunct' as used in A Student's Introduction to English Grammar (2nd Edition 2022)

According to the authors of the book, adjuncts are divided into two kinds: modifiers, which are thoroughly integrated into the syntactic structure of clauses, and supplements, which are much more ...
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Do sentences that mutually entail each other have similar predicate-argument structures?

An active sentence entails its passive counterpart, and vice versa. Thus, the two sentences John likes Joan and Joan is liked by John mutually entail each other. My question in this regard concerns ...
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Do intensifiers in Turkish, Roamance, Semitic, Turkish inflect with their focus in pre-predicate positions?

I read that In languages like Slavic, Romance, Semitic, Turkish, Persian, intensifiers inflect and show agreement with their focus. For example: Ali profesör-ün kendi-si-ni sav-un-du. Ali professor-...
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Detached Predicative with NONFINITE Clauses

I have just stumbled upon a sentence: Dressed in a white dress, Stella looked breathtakingly beautiful. I was wondering if the very first part of the sentence (Dressed in a white dress-nonfinite "...
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What do dashes in words mean?

Once again, i was reading about the West Bomberai languages when i saw something like this: ni- -rik It had dashes before and after words. I saw many words like this in the Proto-Trans New Guinea. ...
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What do letters in square brackets, V, C, U in words mean?

This may be a dumb question but what do letters in brackets mean? I was reading an article about the West Bomberai languages when i came across: I saw something like: *[a/o]n *k[a/o] I saw this ...
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French V-to-T movement and modifier

I am struggling with this question that concerns the location of a modifier in a French sentence. How would you account for the last sentence? Thank you in advance.
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How can you 'test' for grammatical properties in A Student's Introduction to English Grammar?

According to the book A Student's Introduction to English Grammar (2005), grammatical terms, e.g., subject, object, noun, verb, adjective, etc. should not be defined by meaning, but by grammatical ...
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'Long stories are easy to tell to the children' and 'The children are easy to tell long stories to' - entailment?

What is the entailment pattern across the next two sentences: Long stories are easy to tell to the children and The children are easy to tell long stories to? I am studying entailment patterns and I ...
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Are there any cases of infinitives being used as a "patient nominal"?

Usually, when infinitives are used in the nominal position, they denote a situation, but I never met any languages that use infinitives to denote participants. The only exception is German "Essen&...
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Is there "adjunct indexation" in some languages?

The arguments of a verb may leave markers on the verb about the person and number features, which is commonly called as argument indexation. We know the distinction between arguments and adjuncts is ...
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Giving a technical description of Greek Circumstantial / Adverbial Participles

I am looking for a good way to articulate a technical description of the function of Greek circumstantial participles (alternately called adverbial participles). This is my first-pass attempt at doing ...
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Can someone share with me an article that studies the decline of by-phrases in the passive?

Can someone share with me an article that studies the decline of by-phrases in the passive? Preferably a corpus-based study, but this is not that relevant
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Syntax X Bar Tree - Complements & Adjuncts

I am having some trouble to identify Complements and Adjuncts. I have the following sentence: "A picture of the accident of Gabriel is saved on the album with a pink cover with the white dots&...
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Why do languages evolve to make a certain marker obligatory?

Some languages don’t require articles. They presumably must have appeared at some point in the history of language. Why would a linguistic feature like “the” be mandatory rather than optional? If it ...
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What happens when a bilingual uses a grammatical subject with a different number system than the verb?

For example, Arabic has a ternary number system: singular, dual, and plural. If a bilingual speaker uses an English phrase as a subject that would have dual number in Arabic (but of course the ...
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What kind of phrase is "Bob reliable"

Consider the sentence: a. Betty considers Bob reliable. b. Betty considers Bob to be reliable. It is believed that "Bob reliable" is a small clause and it is an AGRP. However for sentence b,...
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How to recognize Heads [closed]

I'm reading "Introduction to English linguistics" and in the chapter 4, there is a paragraph that I don't understand : The other crucial cluster of properties of heads concern their ...
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Infinitive clauses in syntactic bracketing/trees [closed]

I am a little confused on how the bracketing of a sentence like “millie forced me to play” would look like when also breaking down the tenses within the phrase. Thank you!
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Are there practical rules for distinguishing between literal and nonliteral expressions?

I'm very much a layperson with respect to linguistics, but I do enjoy reading religious texts (Bible, Hadith, etc.) and talking with adherents about their particular meanings. A question which seems ...
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Why is 'before' a Downward Entailing Operator, but 'after' is not?

I'm a teaching assistant for a linguistics class and I'm having a hard time finding a clear and concise way to explain the difference between "before" and "after" re: entailment. ...
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Object of certain constructions

I am sure you have all come across constructions such as these: She slept a long sleep He lived a productive life. These verbs are traditionally intransitive verbs, and yet here are transitive. ...
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What are lexeme, word and phrase in HPSG?

In “Head-Driven Phrase Structure Grammar: The handbook” by Abeillé and Borsley, it says: lexeme, word, and phrase have a complex system of subtypes. The type lexical-sign, its subtypes, and the ...
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Languages with homophonous IF-clauses

In English, most grammars tacitly or explicitly recognise two types of if. One of these introduces subordinate interrogative clauses: I don't know [if I passed the exam]. The other introduces ...
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OVS in English dialogue

English is an SVO language. When writing dialogue, especially in literature, writing a sentence with the speech first is considered grammatically correct. Take for example this extract from Ursula K ...
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Is there such a thing as attributive vs. modifier uses of adj? Is un rojo carro vs. un carro rojo the same difference as 红房子 vs. 红的房子?

In teaching Spanish I often explain the difference between pre-nominal adjectives and post-nominal adjectives as the difference between an English noun phrase in which the adjective is stressed, and ...
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Which languages drop articles?

I was reading through a tutorial about an IT tool called Ansible and started wondering about the first language of the author, who tends to drop articles. Is it possible to guess a person's language ...
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Is there a language whose syntactic structure accepts a specifier of a PP?

We know a preposition (in X-bar theory) is the head of a prepositional phrase and it has a complement that is the sister of this very preposition. However I've never seen a language with a constituent ...
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1 vote
1 answer
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Are there different "kinds" of meaningless sentences?

There is famous sentences by Chomsky ("Colorless green ideas sleep furiously") to show that syntactically sentences can by devoid of meaning, or at least have a very odd or dubious meaning. ...
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How common are "How" + infinitive interrogative sentence structures?

In English (or at least varieties with which I am familiar), if you want to ask how to do something, you can't just ask "How to do {something}?"--that's interpreted as a headless relative, ...
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Is derivation through valency change common cross-linguistically?

Sorry if this question doesn't make much sense, it's still a half-formed shower thought at this point. In my linguistics class yesterday we were going over ergative-absolutive alignment, and the ...
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how do we categorize verbs that come after copula verbs?

(1) The bird seems to eat. Would eat be a verb? I thought that it would be but now I'm having second thoughts about whether it's an adjective or a verb.
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"STARBUCKESE" syntax problem

In standard English, one can’t put a PP before a head noun that the preposition modifies. For example, the NP in (a) is completely ungrammatical. a) *The with milk coffee. But there is a major chain ...
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Does "Inchoative Construction" mean constructions with intransitive inchoative verbs?

The following is the sentence I extracted from a book, Binding Theory, written by Daniel Burning. The fact that a language like English, which lacks a simple reflexive, has extremely few reflexive ...
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Why is the PP, according to this derivation, directly moved from the lower (farther) DP, not the nearer one?

The sentence being parsed: De CHOMSKY varios libros han ganado premios internacionales, no de Trotsky. of Chomsky several books have won awards international-PL, not of Trotsky Why is the PP on top ...
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On the change of word order as languages develop?

While I understand the most common changes in word order, the whole SOV can go to OSV, SVO, and OVS, and so forth. But I do not exactly understand how and why word order would change. Can you explain ...
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Why is there a proxy reading in this sentence from Reuland (2011)?

For English, himself can function as proxy reading, for instance, One of the well-known properties of reflexive pronouns is their ability to have "proxy readings." This is illustrated in (1) ...
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Why is 'There are most of us in the party' ungrammatical?

Sentence a: There are many of us in the party. Sentence b: There are most of us in the party. Why is sentence b ungrammatical? Is it a matter of some kind of constraints?
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How does "own" affect binding?

How does own affect binding relationships? I am studying binding theory as it applies to English. I have learned that own can influence the binding relations. For example: (1) John is his boss. The ...
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Are there languages which restrict adverb usage to only one of either preceding or following a verb?

We have adverb sentences like this: I basically initially ran quickly. That means the same thing pretty much as: I basically initially quickly ran. First part of the question is, why do some ...
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What does it mean for something to be extracted from islands? [closed]

So I understand that something like a complex NP is an island. And some languages are "sensitive to islands" but what does that mean? What is being extracted from the island and why would ...
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