The Grammatical Analysis of Sentences

The Grammatical Analysis of Sentences - Chris Mellish and Graeme Ritchie

Constituents and composition
If we examine the form of English sentences (and comparable observations can be made in other languages) it seems that there are certain regularities in the structure of the sentence, in terms of where words may occur (their distribution, in linguistic terminology) and how words and phrases may combine with each other. For example, if we compare quite dissimilar sentences such as:

Elbert adores spaghetti.
There was a storm.

there is a general pattern \Subject { Verb { Complement" in which the \Subject" is some sort of self contained phrase, the \Verb" is one of a particular class of words which behave in certain ways (e.g. varying their endings depending on what the Subject is), and the\Complement" is another phrase of some sort. Such regularities are quite widespread, within phrases as well as in sentence structure, and appear in sentences with quite a wide variety of meanings (as in the two examples above).

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