In English, sentences are always made up of noun phrases (NP) and verb phrases (VP).

A noun phrase should always contain at least a noun. It can also contain a determiner (Det), an adjective, and a prepositional phrase (PP).

A prepositional phrase must always contain a preposition and may contain a noun phrase.

A verb phrase must always contain an Aux (which indicates tense) and the main verb (MV). It may also contain a noun phrase, an adverb and a prepositional phrase.

Let’s analyse some sentences using TG grammar:

  • The teacher bought the books.


Deep Structure: The + teacher + past + buy + the + books
Affix Switch Transformation: The + teacher + buy + past + the books
Surface Structure: The teacher bought the books.

  • A grey snake crawled into the house.


Deep Structure: A + grey + snake + past + crawl + into + the + house
Affix Switch Transformation: A + grey + snake + crawl + past + into + the house
Surface Structure: A grey snake crawled into the house.

  • The small boy ate the cake.


Deep Structure: The + small + boy + past + eat + the + cake
Affix Switch Transformation: The + small + boy + eat + past + the cake
Surface Structure: The small boy ate the cake.

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Devika Panikar has been teaching English Language and Literature for 14 years now. She is an Assistant Professor with the Directorate of Collegiate Education under the Government of Kerala. She teaches at the Government Colleges coming under this directorate and is now posted at the Department of English, H.H. The Maharaja’s Government College for Women, Thiruvananthapuram. This website is a collection of the lecture notes that she prepared by referring various sources, for her students’ perusal. It has been compiled here for the sake of future generations.

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