January 19, 2010

Phrase Structure Grammar (also known as PS Grammar) is a type of grammar discussed by Noam Chomsky in his book Syntactic structure (1957) as an illustration of a generative device. It is a component of his Transformational Grammar (also known as Transformational Generative Grammar). PS Grammar contains rules which are not only capable of showing the constituents/ terminal elements/components of a linear structure (sequential order of an ultimate constituent) but also of specifying the rules that help to bind the parts together to arrange the sequence. That means, in such grammar the linguists are basically interested:
  • in the constituent parts of a  sentence,
  • in the syntactic devices used to link the constituents together, and the ways in which various parts relate to each other.
Phrase Structure Grammar is different from the Immediate Constituent Analysis (also known as IC Analysis) of the earlier linguists. It is formalized by Noam Chomsky and other scholars as a system of generative rules. These rules are known as Phrase Structure Rules (also known as PS Rules, Constituent Structure Rules, Branching Rules). Generally Phrase Structure Grammar takes the form of a set of rules, such as the following:


NP → Determiner+N

VP → Verb+NP

The sentence “The man captured a bird” can be analysed in terms of the following PS rules and a tree diagram or phrase marker:


NP → Det+N


N → man, bird

Det → the, a


Varshney, Dr. R.L.  An Introduction of Linguistics & Phonetics. Dhaka: BOC, n.d.
Tanvir Shameem Tanvir Shameem is not the biggest fan of teaching, but he is doing his best to write on various topics of language and literature just to guide thousands of students and researchers across the globe. You can always find him experimenting with presentation, style and diction. He will contribute as long as time permits. You can find him on:

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