top of page

Carnie, Andrew (2010) Constituent Structure. 2nd Edition. Oxford University Press


This book explores the empirical and theoretical aspects of constituent structure in natural language syntax. It surveys a wide variety of functionalist and formalist theoretical approaches, from dependency grammars and Relational Grammar to Lexical Functional Grammar, Head-driven Phrase Structure Grammar, and Minimalism. It describes the traditional tests for constituency and the formal means for representing them in phrase structure grammars, extended phrase structure grammars, X-bar theory, and set theoretic bare phrase structure. In doing so it provides a clear, thorough, and rigorous axiomatic description of the structural properties of constituent trees. 

Andrew Carnie considers the central controversies on constituent structure. Is it, for example, a primitive notion or should it be derived from relational or semantic form? Do sentences have a single constituency or multiple constituencies? Does constituency operate on single or multiple dimensions? And what exactly is the categorial content of constituent structure representations? He identifies points of commonality as well as important theoretical differences among the various approaches to constituency, and critically examines the strengths and limitations of competing frameworks. 

This new edition includes textual revisions as well as a new final chapter and ensures that Constituent Structure remains the definitive guide to constituency for advanced undergraduates and graduate students, as well as theoretical linguists of all persuasions in departments of linguistics, cognitive science, computational science, and related fields.


Hardback: ISBN: 9780199583454 
Paperback: ISBN: 9780199583461

First Edition


Review of the Second edition

Reviews of the First Edition


Ordering Information:​


Table of Contents

Part 1: Preliminaries 
1. Introduction
2. Constituent Structure
3. Basic Properties of Trees: Dominance and Precedence
4. Second Order Relations: C-command and Government


Part 2: Phrase Structure Grammars and X-bar Theory 
5. Capturing Constituent Structure: Phrase Structure Grammars
6. Extended Phrase Structure Grammars
7. X-bar Theory

Part 3: Controversies 
8. Towards Set-Theoretic Constituency Representations
9. Dependency and Constituency
10. Multidominated, Multidimensional, and Multiplanar Structures
11. Phrasal Categories and Cartography

bottom of page