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How to make a syntactic tree for this sentence?
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Hi guys! I have a big problem with dividing this complex sentence into parts to build a syntactic tree. Can anyone help me? This is not a homework, this is one of questions for the final exam on my studies and these questions are published on my University website, so there's nothing wrong in asking you for help here :) The case is not actually to build a tree but to indentify the phrasal categories, however, the form of a tree is easier for me to learn and understand it. That's why I struggle to do that.
This is the sentence:
The central assumption underpinning syntactic analysis in traditional grammar is
that phrases and sentences are built up of a series of constituents, each of which
belongs to a specific grammatical category and serves a specific grammatical
It's still much better if you can do this exercise yourself to practice rather than us giving you 'the answer'.
But here I think I can help by getting you started. The biggest challenge with drawing a tree for a sentence that large is probably fitting it on the page and at the same time not mixing up any of the structural relationships. You can probably identify any individual component by itself, but might get lost in the larger context. But this provides a good opportunity for another excise that will help: try substitution where you identify constituents (phrases) within the sentence by substituting functionally equivalent words. For example, what is the subject, and can the whole phrase be replaced with a pronoun? Do that for several complex parts of the sentence, and then draw a tree for that simplified version. That can then work as the outline for your tree of the original sentence, so try that next.
Please, correct me if I'm wrong.
The sentence may be devided into three parts:
S1 - The central assumption underpinning syntactic analysis in traditional grammar is
that phrases and sentences are built up of a series of constituents
S2 - each of which belongs to a specific grammatical category
S3 - (and) serves a specific grammatical function
S1 consists of:
NP [The central assumption underpinning syntactic analysis in traditional grammar]
and VP [is that phrases and sentences are built up of a series of constituents]
The NP consists of:
NP: (det. - the); (NP: Adj - central N - assumption); (AP: Adj - underpining NP - Adj - syntactic, N - analysis) PP: (Prep - in); (NP - Adj - traditional; N - grammar)
The VP consists of:
(verb - is); (conj. - that); (NP: N - phrases; Con. - and; N - sentences); (VP: aux - are, verb - built, adv - up; (PP: prep. - of; det. - a; NP: N - series; prep - of; N - constituents).
How does it look like so far? I would be very greatful if you could tell me what is correct and what is not.
What is "correct" depends on the rules of analysis you're using. It would vary for different classes. For example, you write "Adj" but some classes would just use "A". In terms of content what you wrote looks OK overall.
Your "S1" actually should contain everything. Embedded within it, you can also separate out "S2" and "S3", but if you're trying to understand how everything fits together you should start by distinguishing whole constituents (including everything inside them). So personally I'd probably start by separating out the subject (your "NP"), then working on what you're calling the "VP" above, including also "S2" and "S3" within that.
(But again, maybe there's a reason based on how you've been taught or expectations for you class about how you should approach this. For this kind of detail-oriented analysis with "correct" answers, asking online is generally NOT very helpful. We can discuss big ideas, but it won't necessarily get you to the "correct" answer for your class.)
What I'm trying to do is just to identify the phrasal categories and their constituents. I did it for S1 and before moving to S2 and S3 I wanted to check if I am not mixing up these categories. It's not a very complicated task but the sentence is so complex that it is difficult for me to divide it. That's why I am asking here, I looked for a person who have much more knowledge of this topic.
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