Try Our Apps


Avoid these words. Seriously.

surface structure

noun, Linguistics. (in transformational-generative grammar)
a structural representation of the final syntactic form of a sentence, as it exists after the transformational component has modified a deep structure.
Compare deep structure.
the string of words that is actually produced.
Origin of surface structure
First recorded in 1960-65 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for surface structure
Historical Examples
  • Big telescopes make it possible for us to see in detail the surface structure of the moon.

    Common Science Carleton W. Washburne
  • It merely shows the surface structure, shows some of the fibers, and shows an imperfection.

    Warren Commission (4 of 26): Hearings Vol. IV (of 15) The President's Commission on the Assassination of President Kennedy
British Dictionary definitions for surface structure

surface structure

(generative grammar) a representation of a string of words or morphemes as they occur in a sentence, together with labels and brackets that represent syntactic structure Compare deep structure
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Nearby words for surface structure

Word Value for surface

Scrabble Words With Friends