In language, the ignorant have prescribed laws to the learned.
A sentence is a sound
in itself on which
sounds called words
may be strung.
• The study of sentence structure
To answer the following questions:
• What are the parts that make up a sentence?
• What are the properties of these parts?
• How are these parts related to one another?
• What are the rules and principles underlying
Morphemes represent the inner structure of words
• Morpheme is the minimal distinctive unit of grammar
• Based on the differences between morphemes,
we can categorize them into groups:
• Bound vs. Free morphemes
1.Morphemes like the past-tense -ed and the
plural marker -s are called bound morphemes
because they cannot occur on their own in
language. Instead, they are always attached
to other morphemes inside a word.
2.But morphemes like cat are called free
because they can also occur as independent
• Content vs. Function
1.Morphemes like -ed and -un are
function morphemes because they
have no inherent lexical meaning (i.e.)
don’t refer to anything in the real
2. In contrast, morphemes like lock and
color are content morphemes because
meaning. Such morphemes are also
Words matter to syntax because:
• Sentences are made up of words.
• A word’ category (part of speech) shows
how a word functions in a sentence.
Why Word Categories?
• Reason 1: A sentence can contain
an infinite number of words.
• Reason 2: Different words, same
• If we have categories for words that can appear in
certain positions and categories for those that don’t, we
can make generalizations (scientific ones) about the
behavior of different word types. This is why we need
parts of speech in syntactic theory.
• Noun refers to a person, place or thing.
• Verb refers to an action.
• Adjective refers to a quality.
• Adverb refers to the manner, location,
time or frequency of an action.
sincerity, happiness, pain, etc.
assassination, construction, etc.
remain, appear, exist, etc.
The meaning of that in ‘She said that he
would call you’?.
• you can know the part of speech of a word
without even knowing what it means:
The yinkish dripner blorked quastofically
into the nindin with the pidibs.
• Inflectional Properties
-Different forms of the same word
cat + -s
• Derivational Properties
– How words are derived from other
words sad + -ness
• Morphological criterion, though reliable in
many cases, is not a sufficient condition
for determining word categories.
• Many nouns such as information, love and pain do
not have a plural form.
• Some adjectives such as absent and circular do
not have comparative and superlative forms.
• Different categories have different distributions.
1. They have no ____.
They can ____.
They read the ____ book.
He treats patient very____.
He walked right ____ the wall.
Only a restricted set of words
can occur in each position.
• It can take a plural -s morpheme;
Exceptions: children, deer, mice, etc.
• It can be modified by a possessive (apostrophe: ’s)
• It contains morphemes like the following: -ity, -ness,
-action, -er, -ion, -ment, -ance, -hood.
• Preceded by determiners like: a, an, the, this,
that, these, those and numerals like: one,
• Preceded by an ADJECTIVE
• Followed by a PREPOSITION
• Preceded by a PREPOSITION
• takes a past tense -ed; exceptions: went,
• third-person singular agreement -s; e.g.
• takes a progressive tense morpheme -ing;
• preceded by AUXILIARIES.
• preceded by MODAL VERBS.
• preceded by negation words
like not and never.
• preceded by an ADVERB.
• can be followed by a NOUN.
• has morphemes like -ous, -y, -ish and,
sometimes, -ly. e.g. fibrous, angry, freakish,
• able to form comparatives and superlatives
with -er and -est. e.g. angrier, angriest.
can be preceded by ADVERBS.
can occur after determiners like the, a,
this, these, those and numerals and
• modifies a NOUN
• can follow VERBS.
• often followed by the morpheme -ly
e.g. swiftly, quickly, angrily.
Exceptions: abroad, now, fast, often,
well, also, very, too, never, so, etc.
• modifies a VERB; e.g. walks quickly
• modifies an ADJECTIVE; e.g. swiftly angry,
• modifies another ADVERB; e.g. very angrily
• Invariable; takes no affixes
• occurs before a noun phrase
• never occurs before an ADVERB or
an ADJECTIVE by themselves.
• can precede another PREPOSITION.
• Determiners refer to articles,
demonstratives, possessives, quantifiers.
• invariable i.e. take no affixes
• occur before adjectives and nouns
• can be inflected for tense, voice, mood, aspect
• occur before the main verb or before an adverb
modifying the main verb
• can occur before other auxiliary verbs
• can undergo inversion in questions
Invariable; don’t take affixes
Typically connect words of the same
• invariable; don’t take affixes.
• create embedded sentences
e.g. I wonder if he did so.
- that, if, whether, for
A man kicked the ball.
Det N V Det N
• This grammar misses a great deal of properties
that we can observe, e.g., the agreement and
ambiguity facts in examples like the following:
a. The mother of the boy and the girl is arriving soon.
b. The mother of the boy and the girl are arriving soon.
• Why two different agreement patterns?
• Two different possibilities for grouping the words
a. [The mother of [the boy and the girl]] is arriving.
b. [The mother of the boy] and [the girl] are arriving.
• The grouping of words into larger units called
constituents provides the first step in understanding
the agreement facts.
Evidence for the existence of phrase units
• Cleft Construction
• Constituent Questions
• Pronoun Substitution
Rules (PS Rules)
Phrases are projected from lexical categories.
o NP: Noun Phrase
o VP: Verb Phrase
o Adj P: Adjective Phrase
o Adv P: Adverb Phrase
o PP: Preposition Phrase
NP: Noun Phrase
• head is noun.
__ [liked ice cream].
Ahmad, I, you, students,
the tall students
the students from UMT,
the students who cam from UMT, etc.
(Det) (A) N (PP/S)
VP: Verb Phrase
• head is verb.
The student __.
lifted heavy chair,
walked the dog through the park,
thought Izza is honest, etc.
V (NP) (PP/S)
• head is adjective.
proud of you,
proud to be his students,
proud that he passed the exam, etc.
Adj (PP/ VP/S)
• head is adverb.
He behaved __.
• well, carefully
• very politely, very well, etc.
• head is preposition.
The squirrel ran right__.
• up the tree,
• into the box, etc.
• PS rules can generate infinite number of
– Recursive application of PS rules
• PS rules help us to identify hierarchical
structures, and thus enable us to represent the
structural ambiguities of sentences.
• Labelled Bracketing
[The woman] [went] [to the store]]
• Tree Diagram
3 Dimensions of Analysis
The monkey scratched a boy on Monday.
• Syntactic Categories
[S [NP The monkey] [VP scratched [NP a boy] [PP on Monday]]].
• Grammatical Functions
[S [SUBJ The monkey] [PRED scratched [OBJ a boy] [MOD on Monday]]].
• Semantic Roles
[S [agt The monkey] [pred scratched [pat a boy] [loc on Monday]]].