In terms of its philosophical tenets, ‘Chomskyan’ generative grammar is characterized by an explicit mentalist perspective, which sets it apart from other generative approaches. Because of this latter factor and for reasons of space, we will not have anything to say about the philosophy of mainstream generative grammar; see e.g., Boeckx (2006) and Smith and Allott (2015) on this.
This chapter is organized as follows. Section 2 focuses on the concept of hierarchical structure and introduces the structural relation ‘c-command’, which is shown to play a crucial role in a number of syntactic dependencies. Section 3 explores the concept of abstract structure through an examination of the impact of syntactic movement on the structure. Arguments are developed to the effect that copies that are the result of movement may play a role in interpretive processes. Pursuing the role of abstract structure in the argumentation, section 4 examines some syntactic properties of VP ellipsis. Arguments are developed to show that while not associated with any overt material the ellipsis site has internal structure. Section 5 summarises the chapter.