Exercise 2.3

The basic syntactic tree for a subject-verb-object sentence will have the main break between the subject and the verb, like this:

The sentences in Exercise 2.2 (repeated below) differ from one another in how many words make up the subject (in red below - it is short in sentences 1 and 3, but long in sentence 2) and the object (in blue, and short in sentence 1 but long in sentences 2 and 3). When we speak a sentence, we do not always break between the subject and the object. With the short subject and long object in 3, for example, we might be more likely to put a break between 'cat' and 'that' and another one between 'mouse' and 'into'. If these breaks are reflected in the type of sentence tree we might draw, then it will look quite different from the one above. This is what Gee and Grosjan (1983, see references in the textbook) mean by "Performance structures".

1. The man bought the CD.

2. The very suspicious but rather inexperienced spy used the binoculars.

3. The dog chased the cat that had recently brought a mouse into its owner's house