You are on page 1of 19

Syntax

Syntax: the study of the structure of sentences and the grammatical rules governing the way words are combined to form sentences

A phrase is a group of words without both a subject and predicate. Phrases combine words into a larger unit that can function as a sentence element. For example, a participial phrase can include adjectives, nouns, prepositions and adverbs; as a single unit, however, it functions as one big adjective modifying a noun (or noun phrase).

PHRASES

Noun Phrase The crazy old lady in the park feeds the pigeons every day.
A NOUN PHRASE consists of a noun and all of its modifiers, which can include other phrases (like the prepositional phrase in the park).

Noun Phrases (NP)


NP NP NP

Det

Det

the

student [NP[Det the [N student]]

the

controversial

book

it

Evidence that NPs are syntactic units comes from the fact they can often be replaced by a single word such as the pronoun they or it

The students read the controversial book. The students read it. The students read the controversial it.

Appositive Phrase

Bob, my best friend, works here


An appositive (single word, phrase, or clause) renames another noun, not technically modifying it.

Gerund Phrase
I love baking cakes.
A gerund phrase is just a noun phrase with a gerund as its head.

Infinitive Phrase
I love to bake cakes.
An infinitive phrase is a noun phrase with an infinitive as its head.

Unlike the other noun phrases, however, an infinitive phrase can also function as an adjective or an adverb..

Verb Phrase

The verb phrase can refer to the whole predicate of a sentence Eg: I was watching my favorite show yesterday or just the verb or verb group Eg: was watching.

Verbal Phrase (VP)


VP
VP V PP

NP

NP

Det

N
Det N

drop the [VP [V drop NP[Det the][N ball]]]

ball

trip on the [VP[V trip [PP[P on[NP[Det the[N bat]]]]

bat

The catcher dropped the ball, and the pitcher did (it) too.
Evidence that VPs are syntactic units comes from the fact they can often be replaced by the word(s) did (it)

Adverbial Phrase
The adverbial phrase also has two definitions; some say its a group of adverbs Eg: very quickly Others say its any phrase (usually a prepositional phrase) that acts as an adverb

Eg: in the morning

Adjectival Phrase As with adverbial phrases, adjectival phrases can either refer to a group of adjectives Eg: full of toys or any phrase (like a participial or prepositional phrase) that acts as an adjective .

Adjectival Phrases (AP)


AP Adv A

very intelligent [AP [Adv very] [A intelligent]]

An adjectival phrase can be replaced by the word so.

Linda is very intelligent, and Mark appears so too.

Participial Phrase
A participial phrase has a past or present participle as its head. Participial phrases always function as adjectives.

Crushed to pieces by a sledgehammer, the computer no longer worked


or I think the guy sitting over there likes you.

Prepositional Phrase
A prepositional phrase, which has a preposition as its head, can function as an adjective, adverb, or even as a noun The food on the table looked delicious.

Prepositional Phrase
PP P NP

Det

in

the

park

The substitution test confirms that PP is a unit since it can be replaced by a single word like there. The team practiced in the park, and Lisa practised there, too. The team practiced in the park, and Lisa practised there the park, too.

Practice

Labelled Tree Diagram and Bracketing


S NP VP

Pron

VP

PP

V Det

NP N

My

parents bought two

tickets

at

Christmas

[S[NP [Pron my][N parents]]VP[VP[V bought]NP[Det two][N tickets]]PP[P at] [N Christmas]]]]

NP

VP
Pron

NP

VP

PP

Pron

VP

PP
N V Det NP N N P P NP N N

V Det

NP N

My

parents bought two

tickets at Christmas

My

parents bought two

tickets

at

Christmas

S NP Det N N N N V Det Aux V NP N P `N VP V PP P N

The fourth-year undergrads will leave the university in June.