surface structure

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A representation of a sentence together with labels and brackets to indicate the sentence's syntactic structure. In a famous example given by the US linguist and philosopher (Avram) Noam Chomsky (born 1928), the sentences John is eager to please and John is easy to please have similar surface structures but completely different deep structures, because the first involves John pleasing someone and the second John being pleased by someone. See also transformational grammar.

Subjects: Psychology — Media Studies.

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