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Advanced English Syntax

Code: 100188 ECTS Credits: 6
Degree Type Year Semester
2500245 English Studies OT 3 0
2500245 English Studies OT 4 0
The proposed teaching and assessment methodology that appear in the guide may be subject to changes as a result of the restrictions to face-to-face class attendance imposed by the health authorities.


Montserrat Capdevila Batet

Use of Languages

Principal working language:
english (eng)
Some groups entirely in English:
Some groups entirely in Catalan:
Some groups entirely in Spanish:


English level required: C2. With C2 the student can straightforwardly understand practically everything s/he reads or hears, summarise information from different oral and written sources, reconstruct facts and arguments and present them in a coherent way, express himself/herself naturally and fluently, distinguishing subtle meaning nuances even in the most complex situations.

Knowledge of basic syntactic notions as the ones covered in the second year subject English Syntax 100223.

Objectives and Contextualisation

- To identify the structure of English sentences and the elements these are made of.

- To recognize the operations and processes that underlie characteristic constructions in English such as different types of yes-no and wh-interrogatives, passives, raising, non-finite clauses or those including expletive elements.

- To be able to assess different syntactic analyses for specific constructions.


    English Studies
  • Critically assessing the scientific, literary and cultural production in the English language.
  • Describe synchronously the main grammar units, constructions and phenomena of the English language.
  • Develop critical thinking and reasoning and knowing how to communicate effectively both in your mother tongue and in other languages.
  • Distinguish and contrast the various theoretical and methodological models applied to the study of the English language, its literature and its culture.
  • Generate innovative and competitive proposals in research and professional activities.
  • Students must be capable of communicating information, ideas, problems and solutions to both specialised and non-specialised audiences.
  • Students must develop the necessary learning skills in order to undertake further training with a high degree of autonomy.
  • Working in an autonomous and responsible way in a professional or research environment in English or other languages, in order to accomplish the previously set objectives.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Analysing the fundamental syntactic operations.
  2. Apply the acquired knowledge to the generation of innovative and competitive research on a basic level.
  3. Applying the acquired methodologies of work planning to work in an environment in the English language.
  4. Applying the acquired scientific and work planning methodologies to the research in English.
  5. Communicating in the studied language in oral and written form, properly using vocabulary and grammar.
  6. Critically assessing the analysis and syntactic, morphological and lexicological elements submitted during the course.
  7. Demonstrate a master of the specific methods of individual academic work that prepare the student for a postgraduate specialised education in the same or a different field of study.
  8. Effectively communicating and applying the argumentative and textual processes to formal and scientific texts.
  9. Identifying and understanding new syntactic elements.
  10. Mastering the advanced knowledge and scientific methodologies related to linguistics, literature, history and culture that prepare the student for a postgraduate specialised education in the same or a different field of study.
  11. Produce new professional initiatives.
  12. Students must be capable of comprehending advanced academic or professional texts in their own language or the another acquired in the degree.
  13. Students must be capable of precisely arguing ideas and opinions in their own language or another acquired in the degree.
  14. Understanding and deepening in the conceptual and theoretical foundations needed in order to carry out a syntactic analysis of a sentence from different points of view.


1. Introduction: Core concepts

2. Subjects and objects

3. The Deteminer Phrase (DP)

4. The Complementizer Phrase (CP)

5. Wh-movement and locality



Directed activities:

Lectures with IT support.


Supervised activities:

Exercises and projects.

Back-up tutorials to help in the realisation of exercises and projects.


Autonomous activities:

Reading of manuals and textbooks.

Elaboration of study diagrams, summaries and texts.

Practical exercises (individual and in group).

Projects (individual and in group).

Use of the Virtual Campus.



Title Hours ECTS Learning Outcomes
Type: Directed      
Lectures and group debate 50 2 1, 3, 4, 2, 7, 14, 8, 5, 9
Type: Supervised      
Classroom exercises and individual tutorials 25 1 1, 3, 4, 2, 7, 14, 8, 5, 9
Type: Autonomous      
Reading, revision, exercises and projects, and use of the Campus Virtual 50 2 1, 3, 4, 2, 7, 14, 8, 5, 9


This course is assessed on the basis of three parts: two partial exams (40% and 40%) and an assignment (20%).

On carrying out each evaluation activity, lecturers will inform students (on Moodle) of the procedures to be followed for reviewing all grades awarded, and the date on which such a review will take place. 

Midterm 1: March 2021

Midterm 2: May 2021

Assignment: April 2021


Students with a final course mark between 3,5/10 who have completed ALL assessment items are eligible for reassessment. For a mark of a partial exam or assignment to average, it has to be equal to or higher than 3,5/10.

The reassessment exam will be a written test, at a time assigned by the Faculty, which will synthesise the contents of the course.

Students will obtain a Not assessed/Not submitted course grade unless they have submitted more than 40% of the assessment items.

In the event of a student committing any irregularity that may lead to a significant variation in the grade awarded to an assessment activity, the student will be given a zero for this activity, regardless of any disciplinary process that may take place. In the event of several irregularities in assessment activities of the same subject, the student will be given a zero as the final grade for this subject.

In the event that tests or exams cannot be taken onsite, they will be adapted to an online format made available through the UAB’s virtual tools (original weighting will be maintained). Homework, activities and class participation will be carried out through forums, wikis and/or discussion on Teams, etc. Lecturers will ensure that students are able to access these virtual tools, or will offer them feasible alternatives.

VERY IMPORTANT: Plagiarism in any of the exercises will automatically lead to FAILING (0/10) the exercise, which cannot be reassessed. If the student plagiarises a second time, s/he will fail the course. PLAGIARISM means copying a text (and this includes a single sentence) from unidentified sources and pretending it is part of one's own production (THIS INCLUDES COPYING SENTENCES OR FRAGMENTS FROM THE INTERNET, WHICH ARE INCLUDED WITHOUT ANY CHANGES TO THE TEXT THAT IS PRESENTED AS ONE'S OWN) and it is a serious academic offence. Students must learn to respect others' intellectual property and to always identify the sources they use. It is absolutely necessary for students to become entirely responsible for theoriginality and authenticity of their texts.




Assessment Activities

Title Weighting Hours ECTS Learning Outcomes
Assignment 20% 8 0.32 1, 3, 4, 2, 13, 12, 7, 14, 8, 5, 11, 9
Midterm 1 40% 8.5 0.34 1, 6, 12, 10, 14, 8, 5, 9
Midterm 2 40% 8.5 0.34 1, 3, 4, 2, 7, 14, 8, 5, 9


COURSE BOOK: Adger, David (2003) Core Syntax. A Minimalist Approach, Oxford: Oxford University Press.



Aarts, Bas (1997) English Syntax and Argumentation, London: MacMillan.

Haegeman , Liliane & Jaqueline Guéron (1999) English Grammar. A Generative Perspective, Oxford: Blackwell.

Llinàs, Mireia, Capdevila, Monterrat, Dominguez, Joaquín, Moyer, Melissa, Pladevall, Elisabet i Susagna Tubau (2014), SECOND EDITION. Basic concepts for the Analysis of English Sentences. Bellaterra: Servei de Publicacions.

Ouhalla, Jamal (1994) Introducing Transformational Grammar. From Rules to Principles and Parameters, University Press London: Eduard Arnold.

Radford, Andrew (1997) Syntax: A Minimalist Introduction , Cambridge: C.U.P.

Radford, Andrew (2004) Minimalist Syntax. Exploring the Structure of English, Cambridge: C.U.P.

Radford, Andrew, Martin Atkinson, David Britain, Harald Clahsen & Andrew Spencer (1999) Linguistics. An Introduction, Cambridge: C. U. P.

Roberts, Ian (1997) Comparative Syntax, London: Arnold.