Share this entry

surface structure Line breaks: sur|face struc|ture

Definition of surface structure in English:


[mass noun]
(In transformational grammar) the structure of a well-formed phrase or sentence in a language, as opposed to its underlying logical form: rules of transformation change deep structure into surface structure [count noun]: those types of sentences which have deep structures identical to their surface structures will be called base sentences Contrasted with deep structure.
More example sentences
  • Possibly, the present verbal dual task interferes mostly with the phonological surface structure of the spatial sentence and not with the underlying propositional content.
  • That is, switching should occur at points where the surface structures of the two languages map onto each other.
  • The theory postulates that the two sentences have the same order in deep structure, but the question transformation changes the order to that in surface structure.

Definition of surface structure in:

Share this entry


What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove ads and access premium resources

Word of the day luxe
Pronunciation: ləks
expensive and of high quality; luxurious