literary analysis of constituents

To perform the literary analysis of Constituents, it is very crucial to know from where it comes from. Here is the detailed analysis of grammar and syntax’ most important part, that is Constituents. 

What is Sentence Structure? 

The sentence structure is analyzed by looking into its noun phrase, verb phrase, etc, while the other components are looking into its head word and the phrase itself. The phrases that develop a sentence are known as the Constituent. 

What is Syntax? 

Syntax is the part of linguistics that studies the structure and formation of sentences. It is all the basic traditional structure of the word such as subject plus object, etc. In English, syntax matters a lot, whereas in some languages it does not matter. For
instance, in Urdu syntax does not matter much. By changing the order of the word, we can form different sentences, but in English we have to stick with it. For instance, when we say I went to Karachi. It is just about going there. But when I add, I went to Karachi
only. It means I had been to the Karachi only and nowhere else. The syntax is one of the most important aspects of English. The interesting thing about syntax is that if the words are in correct place and position, even though semantically the sentence is not
making sense, but still it is grammatically correct. It may not make sense, but as a word, it is correct. If you say eat I, it will not be correct.

Why do we need to study syntax?

It analyses the sentence. It tells us to create an appropriate sentence. For forming a grammatically accepted correct sentence, we need to have it in a proper way.

What is  syntactic ambiguity now?

When we see a sentence, the words are at their place, but some words due to their relation with the phrases and other words; we do not understand that they have come up with two or more meanings that are called syntactic ambiguity. As in these sentences, The said she would go yesterday. Now it is very vague here that where she will go? Is it about going somewhere or is she going to die. The intended meanings are so much unclear here.
This is what we call as syntactic ambiguity. When we study syntax, we look into end this ambiguity by categorizing the sentences and dividing them. We understand these sentences, by checking that which word is giving the close meaning.

Syntax Structure 

When we check the syntax structure, we know that it means to build something.
Creating something step by step just like a structure of any building. In syntax, we put words and create sentences. There are technical elements, components of any language in its internal function. When we break any sentence into chunks, we divide them into verb, subject, adjective, subject, determiner, etc. We uncover these layers of any sentence and come up with the elements in it.

Literary Analysis of Constituents 

There is a systematic way to analyses any sentence. Each constituent comes up with its own function. If we say she is dancing. We are telling she is a doer. Dancing is a function or action. Every constituent has its own function. We examine each constituent; we get rules out of this practice and get new rules for developing new words. Constituents mean being a part of the whole. That could be a whole sentence. In syntax, constituents are a group of words. For example, she is writing a letter. ‘She’ is different constituent, writing a letter is a separate constituent. When we move further,
we separate them further, we becomes a single constituent, writing single constituent and so on.

It is important to know about the word phrase because we have this verb phrase, noun phrase, prepositional phrase, adverbial and other phrase, they all have head word. In Verb phrase, we have verb as head word, adverbial phrase has an adverb as head word and prepositional phrase has the preposition as head word. The head word is a central element. Why? Because we can put into other words around it and create a whole sentence.

‘The pen was given to me‘. The main constituent is the pen here. If we remove the pen from here then it will be “was given “to me that is entirely meaningless.
When you remove head word the there will be no meaning left in the sentence. The pronoun is also a noun phrase.

Head Word Test

In the literary analysis of Constituents, it is critical to know few things.

So, how do you know that the certain word is a head word? When you remove it, the group of words becomes meaningless. This whole sentence is the noun phrase. In the first phrase, we see A car, that is an article and a noun. in the second phrase, we have A very old car added an adjective by adding very old. It is, the very old is a pre modifier. It will still be a noun phrase because the “car” is the important word here. A Very old car was parked
outside the school few days back. The last phrase is also a noun phrase.


In Phrase, there is a head word and goes on with the group of words. There are noun phrase, verb phrase, adjective; prepositional phrases are present within a sentence. Such as a blue box, it is big. In the town. As we discussed earlier that constituent could be a word or a group of words. As we see in the example that A very beautiful girl dressed well last night. Now, the dressed well
last night is the immediate constituent as it is coming right after the subject. We call it a predicate or verb phrase. The larger constituent that is the verb phrase. When we divide it further, there will be intermediate constituent. That is, Beautiful girl and dressed well.
Then further divide it and get ultimate constituent that turns out to be in a single word.
All of these words form a string of words that are interrelated to each other and become a sentence with their structure and meaning that is called out to have a syntactic and semantic relation.
We also get to know that what semantic and syntactic relation is being formed in terms of having a structure that has a very flawless meaning. For instance, you can say a tall girl, but you cannot say a girl tall.

Phrase structure Analysis 

When we perform phrase structure analysis, we work according to those rules. When we look at constituent structure, in constituent, we do not look at the phrase, we look at individual word. First, we make two divisions; we go into immediate, and then intermediate, then to the ultimate. For example, The girl chased the dog. Here, the is an ultimate constituent, dog is an ultimate constituent, same as in the other words, they become ultimate constituents.
In phrase structure, we take a sentence, we spot noun phrase, then verb phrase, then it is further divided into article, adjective, etc.

Thus, the difference between phrase structure and constituent structure is that in phrase structure, we are looking at the head word. We are not focusing on head word in the constituent analysis.
Conclusively, any constituent cannot be a phrase, but a phrase can be a constituent. The dog chased the girl, in it, the dog chased is a constituent, She was dressed last night, in it, the dressed last are the constituents, but they are not a phrase. For becoming a phrase, you need to have a head word. Also, chased girl is a constituent
and not a phrase.

The literary analysis of Constituents is certainly not an easy task and it is a detailed work. 

Types of Constituents 

Moreover, till the immediate and in some cases till the intermediate level, we can call it a phrase. For example, The drunken sailor saluted the puzzled cat.
The drunken sailor became one phrase and the saluted the puzzled cat became the second phrase. Still, when we divide it further like separating the and drunken sailor, it
is still a phrase in drunken sailor, but yes when we divide them more, there will be no more phrases left. They will become individual words. Immediate and intermediate will remain the phrase.


While performing the literary analysis of Constituents, we need to pass these sentences from few tests as well.
There are few tests applied to verify the constituents. Looking at this sentence, The Girl Chased the Dog Last Night. In the replacement test, in which, if we replace girl with she (a pronoun), the sentence will remain the same. The other test is omission test, in
which, if we omit the last night, the sentence will still give out information and have the meaning. Then comes the movement test, in this test, we can move Last Night from the end of a sentence to the starting of it and the sentence will still provide us with the
information and meanings. It can also be tested with question that will prove to us that it is making sense that is why it can be converted into the question.


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