ACE 6.7 Syntax Report

1 Introduction
1.1 Notational conventions
1.2 Features
2 ACE texts
3 Queries
3.1 Topicalised questions
3.2 Questions
4 Commands
5 Specifications
5.1 Sentence coordination
5.2 Topicalised sentences
5.3 Composite sentences
6 Verb Phrases
6.1 Verb Phrase Coordination
6.2 Subcategorization of verbs
7 Noun Phrases
7.1 Specifiers
7.2 Variables
7.3 Possessive Noun Phrases
7.4 Arithmetic Terms
8 Prepositional Phrases
9 Relative Clauses
10 Adjective Phrases / Adverb Phrases
11 Function Words
12 Content Words
12.1 Adverbs
12.2 Intransitive Adjectives
12.3 Transitive Adjectives
12.4 Trunk Nouns for Anonymous Pronouns
12.5 Countable Nouns
12.6 Mass Nouns
12.7 Measurement Nouns
12.8 Proper Names
12.9 Ditransitive Verbs
12.10 Transitive Verbs
12.11 Intransitive Verbs
12.12 Prepositions

1 Introduction

1.1 Notational conventions

We use some notational conventions in our abstract grammar. The feature values of a constituent are attached to it in square brackets. Required values take a plus sign (+), prohibited values are marked with a minus sign (–). Features which are not discriminatory in the respective rule are not made explicit. Alternatives are separated by a vertical bar (|) and optional elements are put into parentheses.

Gaps left behind by moved constituents are indicated by a slash (/). A minus sign after the slash (/–) indicates that the respective category is not allowed to contain a gap. Feature values that are not indicated explicitly in the abstract grammar are not restricted, or they are passed on by feature percolation.

For many rules we provide an example. Parts of the example that are not covered by the respective rule, but are added to complete a sentence or to make the example more illustrative, are put into square brackets.

1.2 Features

We have made explicit use of a limited set of features in the abstract grammar presented in this report. Nominal constituents are marked as nominative (+NOM) or oblique (-NOM), and they can be either pronominal (+PRO) or not (-PRO).

Verb forms can be either finite (-INF) or infinite (+INF). The only infinite verb form that exists in ACE is the bare infinitive. If a verbal constituent has the copula as its head, it is marked +COPULA, and if it must not have a copula head -COPULA respectively. Other verbs are categorized as intransitive (+ITR), transitive (+TR), or ditransitive (+DITR). Furthermore, the verb "be" can be present (+BE), which is the cases for copula and passive, or absent (-BE).

Noun phrases can either be negative (+NEG) or non-negative (-NEG) depending their determiner. Number, quantification and the WH value are indicated by non-boolean features. A noun phrase can be definite (+DEF), existentially quantified (+EXISTS) or universally quantified (+FORALL). Likewise, a non-universally quantified noun phrase, i.e. one that is either definite or existentially quantified, is marked as -FORALL. Many constituents can have a WH value. Its range includes interrogative (+Q), relative (+R), either (+WH), neither (-WH), non-interrogative (-Q) and non-relative (-R). The number of a constituent is indicated as singular (+SG), mass (+MASS) or plural (+PL) and the respective complementary values. Furthermore, NPs can be in third (+THIRD) or second (+SECOND) person form. The latter is only used for commands.

Adjectives can be positive (+POS), comparative (+COMP), or superlative (+SUP).

If a sentence coordination is subordinated (+THAT) then each sentence starts with 'that', which is not the case for top-level sentence coordinations (-THAT).

2 ACE texts

An ACE text can be any sequence of declarative sentences ("specifications"), questions ("queries"), and imperative sentences ("commands").


ACEText →

ACETextCompleteSentence ACEText

CompleteSentenceSpecification | Query | Command

3 Queries

Queries end with a question mark.


QueryTopicalisedQuestion '?'

3.1 Topicalised questions

A topicalised question can start with an existential question topic (23, 24).



Example: Is there a card [?]

Likewise, a topicalised question can start with an universal topic followed by another topicalised question (21). Note that this is a recursive rule. In example 21, the universal topic is for every card.


TopicalisedQuestionUniversalTopic TopicalisedQuestion

Example: For every card does a customer own it [?]

Last, a topicalised question need not have a topic at all but can just be an ordinary question (22).



An existential question topic can either consist of an interrogative NP followed by the existential global question quantor is there (23), or it starts with the existential global question quantor followed by an NP (24). Like in its declarative counterpart (10), this NP must not stand in an oblique case (+NOM) nor must it be unversially quantified (-FORALL), relative or interrogative (-WH). In this way we prevent sentences like

* Is there every card?

* Is there which card?

Furthermore, an NP containing an interrogative element must not be coordinated, preventing sentences like

* A card and what are valid?

* Who and who enters a card?


ExistentialQuestionTopicNP[+NOM,+Q] ExistentialGlobalQuestionQuantor

Example: Which code is there [?]

ExistentialQuestionTopicExistentialGlobalQuestionQuantor NPCoord[+NOM,-FORALL,-WH,+THIRD]

Example: Is there a card [?]
Example: Are there a code and a card [?]

3.2 Questions

There are two types of questions: Yes/no-questions (26a, 26b) and WH-questions (2833).


QuestionYesNoQuestion | WhQuestion

YesNoQuestionSentenceQuestion SentenceCoord[+THAT]

Example: Is it true that John waits [?]
Example: Is it false that John waits [?]
Example: Is it not true that John waits [?]

YesNoQuestionAux SentenceWithoutVPCoord[-WH]/Aux

Example: Does a customer enter a code [?]
Example: Can a customer enter a code [?]
Example: Must a customer enter a code [?]
Example: Is a code entered by a customer [?]
Example: Is a card valid [?]

WH-questions can take various forms (2833). The rule 28 handles WH-questions without inversion. In WH-questions that ask for an objekt or an adjunct, the interrogative constituent is followed by an auxiliary (29, 31, 33). In these questions, the interrogative constituent can be an NP (29), a prepositional phrase (31) or an adverb coordination (33). The verbal phrases of these questions contain a gap for the constituent that was moved to the front of the sentence (i.e. the constituent that is asked for). The verb of these verbal phrases stands in the infinitive form. Interrogative nominal phrases are never coordinations.



Example: Which customer enters a card [?]
Example: Who enters a card [?]
Example: John enters what [?]


Example: There is who [?]
Example: There is a man who knows who [?]

WhQuestionNP[+Q,-NOM] Aux SentenceWithoutVPCoord/Aux,NP

Example: Which code does a customer enter [?]
Example: What does a customer enter [?]
Example: What is a customer interested in [?]

WhQuestionPP[+Q] Aux SentenceWithoutVPCoord/Aux,PP

Example: Into what does a customer enter a card [?]
Example: In what is a customer interested [?]

WhQuestionAdverbCoord[+Q] Aux SentenceWithoutVPCoord/Aux,AdverbCoord

Example: How does a customer enter a card [?]
Example: Where is a card entered by a customer [?]
Example: When is a card valid [?]

4 Commands

Commands end with an exclamation mark.


CommandImperativeSentence '!'

The addressee of the command has to be made explicit at the beginning of the sentence (separated by a comma).


ImperativeSentenceNPCoord[+NOM,-WH,-NEG,+SECOND] ',' VP[-WH,+INF]

Example: John, go to the house [!]

5 Specifications

Specifications end with a full stop.


SpecificationSentenceCoord '.'

Example: A man waits.
Example: A man waits and a dog barks.
Example: A man waits. He eats.

5.1 Sentence coordination

Sentences can be coordinated by and and or. And refers to the logical conjunction, while or denotes the logical disjunction. The logical conjunction has a higher precedence than the disjunction. Both connectors are right-associative. The expression

A or B and C or D

is therefore ordered like

A ∨ ((B ∧ C) ∨ D)

To enable more combinations, we have introduced comma-and and comma-or. These expressions reverse the order of precedence. To achieve the order

A ∨ (B ∧ (C ∨ D))

we can write

A, or B, and C or D

A sentence coordination in general consists of a sentence coordination of a lower level (thus ensuring right-associativity) optionally followed by the respective connector and a sentence coordination of the same level (4).


SentenceCoordSentenceCoord_1 ( CommaOr SentenceCoord )

SentenceCoord_1SentenceCoord_2 ( CommaAnd SentenceCoord_1 )

SentenceCoord_2SentenceCoord_3 ( Or SentenceCoord_2 )

SentenceCoord_3[-THAT] →
	TopicalisedSentence ( And SentenceCoord_3[-THAT] )

SentenceCoord_3[+THAT] →
	that TopicalisedSentence ( And SentenceCoord_3[+THAT] )

Example: A customer enters a card and a clerk enters a code and for every code that the customer enters the card is valid [.]
Example: [A man believes] that a dog barks and that a cat eats a cake [.]
Example: [A man believes] that a dog barks and that a cat eats a cake [.]

5.2 Topicalised sentences

To avoid scope ambiguities ACE uses the 'principle of surface order' which makes the scope of a quantifier uniquely predictable from the quantifier's position in the sentence. This interpretation principle says that the relative scope of a quantifier corresponds to its surface position. The scope opens at the textual position of the quantified noun phrase and extends to the end of the sentence. If sentences are coordinated, the scope of a quantifier extends only to the end of the sentence conjunct/disjunct containing the quantifier. The sample sentence commonly used to illustrate scope amguities

Every man loves a woman.

is therefore unambiguously interpreted in ACE as

∀ x: (man(x) ⇒ ∃ y: (woman(y) ∧ loves(x,y)))

We may, however, want to express the reverse interpretation

∃ y: (woman(y) ∧ ∀ x: (man(x) ⇒ loves(x,y)))

To achieve the latter interpretation, we have introduced two ACE constructions that allow the user to topicalise a quantifier (i.e. move it to the front of the sentence) and give it a wider scope. The global quantifiers there is/there are (10) and for every/for each (11, 12) expand their scope over the whole sentence. In ACE, the above interpretation can thus be expressed as

There is a woman and every man loves her.


There is a woman that every man loves.

The two readings of the sentence

A man loves every woman.

which are

∃ x: (man(x) ∧ ∀ y: (woman(y) ⇒ loves(x,y)))

∀ y: (woman(y) ⇒ ∃ x: (man(x) ∧ loves(x,y)))

can be made explicit in ACE as

There is a man who loves every woman.

which is equivalent to 'a man loves every woman' and 'for every woman a man loves her'. A topicalised sentence can start with an existential topic (7) or a universal topic (8). It needs, however, not be topicalised at all but can just be an ordinary composite sentence (9).



Example: There is a card [.]

TopicalisedSentenceUniversalTopic SentenceCoord[-THAT]

Example: For every code there is a card that the code belongs to [.]



Topics consist of a global quantifier enhanced by a noun phrase coordination (i.e. a noun phrase or a coordination of noun phrases) and a VP coordination (a verb phrase or a coodination of verb phrases) or by an N' respectively. An existential topic (10) takes the existential global quantifier there is/there are and an NP coordination that has to be existentally quantified (+EXISTS) and must not be in an oblique case (+NOM).

With these restrictions, we prohibit sentences like

* There is he.

* There is him.

* There is the man.

* There is every customer.

We also prohibit the following

* There are John and Mary.

* There is a man. There are the man and a woman.


ExistentialTopicExistentialGlobalQuantor NPCoord[+NOM,+EXISTS,+THIRD]

Example: There is a card which is valid [.]
Example: There are a card and a code [.]
Example: There is a man [.]
Example: There is the man's dog [.]
Example: There is John's dog [.]
Example: There are a dog and a cat [.]
Example: There are a man and less than 3 dogs [.]
Example: There are a man and more than 3 dogs [.]

A universal global quantifier is only followed by an N' and not by a complete NP (* for every a code). This N' must be in the nominative case and can be either in singular (for every card) or plural (for all cards). Since every cannot be used with mass nouns (* every money), we use every in combination with countable nouns (either singular and plural), and all in combination with mass nouns and plural nouns.


UniversalTopicUniversalGlobalQuantor N'[+NOM]

Example: For every card [there is a code.]
Example: For all money there is a bank. 
Example: For everybody X [a man sees X.]
Example: For all cards [there is a code.]

A universal topic can also start with a distributive global quantifier for each of. The distributive global quantifier must be followed by a complete plural NP coordination in nominative case (12).


UniversalTopicDistributiveGlobalQuantor NPCoord[+PL,+NOM,+THIRD]

Example: For each of the customers [a clerk enters a code.]
Example: For each of a customer and a clerk [a code is valid.]
Example: Not for each of the customers [a clerk enters a code.]
Example: Not for each of a customer and a clerk [a code is valid.]

5.3 Composite sentences


CompositeSentenceSentenceInit SentenceCoord[+THAT]

Example: It is false that John waits [.]
Example: It is possible that John waits [.]
Example: It is not necessary that John waits [.]

A conditional sentence consists of an antecedent, introduced by if, and a consequent, introduced by then. Both the antecedent and the consequent must be complete sentence coordinations.


CompositeSentence →
	if SentenceCoord[-THAT] then SentenceCoord[-THAT]

Example: If a card is valid then its own code is valid and a customer enters the card [.]


ArithmeticalSentenceTerm '=' Term | Term '\=' Term | Term '<' Term | Term '>' Term | Term '=<' Term | Term '>=' Term
Example: 3+X > 8
Example: L = {"a","bc","def"}

A simple declarative sentence consists of an NP coordination which is its subject. It must be in nominative case and must not be relative or interrogative. The VP coordination too must not contain any interrogative or relative arguments or modifiers, and its form must be finite.


SentenceNPCoord[+NOM,+THIRD] VPCoord[-INF]

Example: A customer enters a green card into a slot [.]

SentenceWithoutVPCoordNPCoord[+NOM,+THIRD] VP[-INF]

6 Verb Phrases

6.1 Verb Phrase Coordination

A verb phrase coordination (35) does automatically take the feature value -COPULA. And, of course, both coordinated verb phrases have to agree in number and verb form (either finite or infinite).


VPCoord[-COPULA] →
	VPCoord_1 ( CommaOr VPCoord )

VPCoord_1VPCoord_2 ( CommaAnd VPCoord_1 )

VPCoord_2VPCoord_3 ( Or VPCoord_2 )

VPCoord_3VP ( And VPCoord_3 )

Usually, in an declarative context, a verb phrase consists of a V' only (37). However, if the verb phrase is negated, it is preceded by an auxiliary (or the copula respectively) and the negation not (38). In all cases, the verb form has to be infinite.


	Auxiliary V'[+INF]

	VModifiers Auxiliary[+BE] CopulaCompl VModifiers

Example: [A customer] does wait [.]
Example: [A customer] is seen by a clerk [.]
Example: [A customer] does not enter a card into a slot [.]
Example: [A customer] is not seen by a clerk [.]
Example: [A customer] can not enter a card [.]
Example: [A customer] cannot enter a card [.]
Example: [A customer] can't enter a card [.]
Example: [A customer] must enter a card [.]
Example: [A customer] has to enter a card [.]
Example: [Some customers] have to enter a card [.]
Example: [A customer] does not have to enter a card [.]
Example: [Some customers] do not have to enter a card [.]
Example: [Who] does not enter a card into a slot [?]
Example: is not in the garden
Example: is not a card
Example: [A card] is not valid [.]
Example: [London] can be sunny [.]
Example: [London] must be sunny [.]
Example: [London] can't be sunny [.]
Example: [London] does not have to be sunny [.]
Example: [Some countries] do not have to be sunny [.]


Auxiliaries are split into two parts: Aux and AuxRest. The first part is the one that occurs at the sentence beginning in the case of questions.


AuxiliaryAux AuxRest

Auxiliary/Aux →

Example: is not
Example: does not have to

Verb phrase modifiers consist of adverbs and/or prepositional phrases. Adverbs are coordinated (with "and") whereas prepositional phrases are simply concatenated.


VModifiers →
	( AdverbCoord VModifiersX | PP VModifiers )

VModifiersX →
	( PP VModifiers )

Example: in a house in the living-room
Example: quickly and thoroughly during one day

6.2 Subcategorization of verbs

In ACE, verbs are subcategorised into intransitive verbs, transitive verbs, ditransitive verbs and the copula. Intransitive verbs take no complement and do not have a passive form.



Example: [A customer] waits [.]

Ditransitive verbs take two complements. Rule 48 comes in two versions. Rule 48b is the version with a preposition. Rule 48a is the version with two NPs.


ComplVV[+DITR] NPCoord[-NOM,+THIRD] Preposition NPCoord[-NOM,+THIRD]

Example: [A man] gives a book to a girl [.]

ComplV[+BE] →
	V[+DITR] Preposition NPCoord[-NOM,+THIRD] by NPCoord[-NOM,+THIRD]

Example: [A book] is sent to Mary by John [.]
Example: [A direct object] is sent an indirect object by a subject [.]
Example: [It] is sent to her by John [.]
Example: [It] is sent to Mary by him [.]

ComplV[+BE] →
	V[+DITR] NPCoord[-NOM,+THIRD] by NPCoord[-NOM,+THIRD]

Example: [Mary] is sent a book by John [.]
Example: [An indirect object] is sent a direct object by a subject [.]
Example: [Mary] is sent it by John [.]
Example: [Mary] is sent him by John [.]
Example: [Mary] is sent a book by her [.]

Transitive verbs take one complement.


ComplVV[+TR] NPCoord[-NOM,+THIRD]

Transitive verbs can also be in passive. In this case the participle form of the verb is used and the verb is surrounded by 'is' and 'by'. The only difference with the active form of the verb is that the arguments are inverted in the predicate condition.


ComplV[+BE] →
	V[+TR] by NPCoord[-NOM,+THIRD]

Example: [John] is seen by Mary [.]
Example: [John] is not seen by Mary [.]
Example: [John] is quickly seen by Mary [.]
Example: [Some men] are seen by Mary [.]
Example: [Are some men] seen by Mary [?]
Example: * There is a man who Mary is seen by.
Example: [A book] can be written by a man [.]
Example: [Are some men] seen by Mary [?]
Example: [Can a book] be written by a man [?]


Example: [A man] gives a girl a book [.]

The copula can take adjective phrase coordinations (is taller than his brother), noun phrase coordinations that are non-relative and non-pronominal (is a customer), prepositional phrases (is in the garden), and query pronouns (is where?) as its complement (52).


CopulaComplAPCoord | NPCoord[-NOM,-R,+THIRD] | PP[-R] | AdverbCoord[+Q]

Example: [A card is] valid [.]
Example: [John is] a customer [.]
Example: [A card is] in a slot [.]
Example: [A code is] 1234 [.]
Example: [A text is] "abcdef" [.]
Example: [What is] when [?]

A verb (and its complements) can optionally be modified by an adverb coordination preceding the verb and/or by verbal modifiers following the verb and its complements (41). Such verbal modifiers (adjuncts) can be adverb coordinations, or prepositional phrases. A modifier is either a PP or an adverb. Adverb(s) can precede or follow the verb, while PPs always follow the verb.


V'VModifiers ComplV VModifiers

Transitive verbs can take a sentential complement, marked by that.


V'VModifiers V[+TR] SentenceCoord[+THAT]

Example: [John] knows that Mary sleeps [.]
Example: [John] does not know that Mary sleeps [.]

Transitive verbs can be used as control verbs that take the preposition to and a verb phrase as their complement.


V'VModifiers V[+TR] to VP[+INF]

Example: [John] wants to run [.]

7 Noun Phrases

A noun phrase coordination can consist of the intermediate category that we call 'unmarked NP coordination' either preceded (53) or not by the distributive marker each of (54). A distributive noun phrase coordination is always singular (+SG) as a whole, but its distributive marker can only precede a non-negative unmarked NP coordination that is plural and non-universally quantified (53). Noun phrases like * each of no customer, * each of a customer or * each of every customer do not make sense. We use the distributive marker each of, as well as its global counterpart for each of (12), to resolve plural ambiguities. Unmarked NP coordinations that are not preceded by a distributive marker have no restrictive feature values (54).


NPCoord[+SG]/- →
	DistributiveMarker UnmarkedNPCoord[-NOM,-FORALL,+PL]

Example: each of some customers
Example: each of them

NPCoord/- →

Example: some customers
Example: he
Example: they
Example: a card that is valid

A noun phrase coordination can be a gap if it has been moved to the front of the sentence in a question.


NPCoord/NPCoord →

If an unmarked NP coordination is an actual coordination of noun phrases, then it is automatically assigned plural number (+PL). Interrogative, relative, negative or universally quantified NPs cannot be coordinated in ACE; hence the -WH, -NEG and -FORALL restriction in the LHS and RHS of rule. Simple (not coordinated) noun phrases do not underlie such restrictions.


UnmarkedNPCoord[+PL,-FORALL,-NEG,-WH] →
	NP[-FORALL,-NEG,-WH] and UnmarkedNPCoord[-FORALL,-NEG,-WH]


Example: a card and a code and a customer
Example: [John sees] Mary and more than 2 men [.]
Example: [John sees] Mary and less than 2 men [.]
Example: * [John sees] Mary and every man [.]

NothingButNPN'[-SG] | PropernameNP

NP[-PRO] →
	no N but NothingButNP

Example: Nothing but men [wait .]
Example: [A man enters] nothing but cards [.]
Example: [John eats] nothing but raw and expensive meat [.]
Example: [John likes] nothing but Mary [.]

Constructs the DOM for the then-part of the implication in "nothing but" sentences. Note that named(.) is not included in the DOM. The type of X (either var or named(.)) must be known at the point when this constructor is called. In general, a noun phrase consists of a specifier followed by an N' (59).


NP[-PRO] →
	Specifier N'

Example: a card X
Example: some water
Example: the card that is valid
Example: the card of John
Example: every card
Example: whose card
Example: which card
Example: [a customer] a card of who [is valid enters a code.]
Example: the card of which customer
Example: the card of who
Example: which card of which customer
Example: 4 kg of apples
Example: at most 3 l of milk
Example: 2l of water [flows.]
Example: 2l of water [flow.]

Pronouns (62), proper names and variables (63) are also self-contained noun phrases. Proper names always start with a capital letter. They can be used anaphorically, and they are in the lexicon. Variables also start with a capital letter, but they are not in the lexicon. Variables can be used anaphorically when used in an apposition or as a self-contained NP.


NP[+PRO] →

Every NP is a proper name, a variable, or a term.


NP[-PRO,-WH] →
	PropernameNP ( RelativeClauseCoord ) | VariableNP | Term


Nouns can be optionally modified by a preceding adjective coordination and/or, following the noun, an apposition coordination, an of-PP or a relative clause coordination (64).


N' →
	( AdjectiveCoord ) N ( VariableApposition ) ( of NPCoord[+THIRD] | RelativeClauseCoord )

Example: a red and blue card X of a customer
Example: a red and blue card X which is valid

7.1 Specifiers

In ACE, specifiers can be determiners, possessive NP coordinations or number phrases. In a measurement noun phrase, however, the specifier consists of a number phrase (2, at least 3) followed by a measurement noun (kg, l, min), and the preposition of. Recursive Saxon Genitive is not supported.


SpecifierDeterminer | PositiveIntegerPhrase | PossessiveNP | PositiveNumberPhrase MeasurementNoun of

Example: the
Example: every
Example: some
Example: the clerk's
Example: at least 3
Example: 5
Example: 3l of
Example: * a clerk's customer's

A positive number phrase consists of a positive number which is optionally preceded by a generalised quantor.


PositiveNumberPhraseGeneralisedQuantor PositiveNumber

Example: [John has] 6 [kg of apples.]
Example: [John has] at most 5 [kg of apples.]
Example: [John has] at least 3.6 [kg of salt.]

PositiveIntegerPhraseGeneralisedQuantor PositiveInteger

Example: 3 [men wait.]
Example: at most 6 [men wait.]
Example: * at least 0 [men wait.]
Example: at most 1 [man waits.]
Example: * at most 1 [men wait.]

7.2 Variables

Variables in apposition stand immediately after the nouns to which they are attached (see 64). Variables can be any upper case letter followed by zero or more digits.



Example: [A man] X [waits.]
Example: [A man] M23 [waits.]

VariableNP(-FORALL) →

Example: X
Example: K54

7.3 Possessive Noun Phrases

The specifier of a noun phrase can be a possessive noun phrase. Possessive noun phrases are either noun phrases (a rich man X) that are followed by a Saxon Genitive marker (i.e. so-called genitive noun phrases), or possessive pronouns (his, his own).


PossessiveNP →
	whose | PossessivePronoun | GenitiveNP

GenitiveNPGenitiveSpecifier GenitiveN' SaxonGenitiveMarker

Example: the man 's [dog barks.]
Example: a man 's [dog barks.]
Example: 5 men 's [dog barks.]
Example: everybody 's [dog barks.]
Example: [There is] the man 's [card.]
Example: [There is] a man 's [card.]
Example: [Mary likes] a man 's [fast car.]

GenitiveNPPropernameNP SaxonGenitiveMarker

GenitiveNPVariableNP SaxonGenitiveMarker

Example: John 's [card is valid.]
Example: [There is a man X.] X 's [card is valid.]
Example: Jimmy's [dog barks.]
Example: [Mary likes] John 's [fast car.]

Note that GenitiveNP functions as an existentially qualifying determiner.


GenitiveSpecifierDeterminer | PositiveIntegerPhrase

Example: A [man's dog barks.]
Example: Some [men's dog barks.]
Example: 5 [men's dog barks.]

GenitiveN' →
	(AdjectiveCoord) N (VariableApposition)

Example: [A] rich and famous man X ['s dog barks.]

7.4 Arithmetic Terms

Arithmetic terms are treated as normal NPs. Every operator is left-associative. Every operator with the exception of '&' must be used in numerical context, '&' requires string context.

The operator precedence levels are:

1. ^

2. * /

3. + - &



Term1Term2 ( Term1_Tail )

Term1_Tail →
	'+' Term1 | '-' Term1 | '&' Term1

Example: 1234
Example: "abc" & "def"
Example: 5*X - 4 - 5

Term2Term3 ( Term2_Tail )

Term2_Tail →
	'*' Term2 | '/' Term2

Example: 1234
Example: X * Y * 3 * 5
Example: X / 4

Term3Term4 ( Term3_Tail )

Term3_Tail →
	'^' Term3

Example: X ^ 4

Term4AtomicTerm | '(' Term ')' | '[' TermList ']' | '{' TermList '}'

Example: 1234
Example: ("abc" & "def")
Example: [1,2,3]
Example: {"a",5,X}

TermList →
	( Term | Term ',' TermList )

Example: 1,2,3

AtomicTermString | Integer | Real | PropernameNP | VariableNP

Example: "abc"
Example: 12
Example: 3.14
Example: John
Example: X

8 Prepositional Phrases

There are two types of prepositional phrases in ACE: ordinary prepositional phrases (84) and of-PPs (64). Ordinary prepositional phrases consist of a preposition followed by an NP coordination (84). Note that the prepositional phrase as a whole is always non-pronominal (-PRO). This is relevant for a prepositional phrase containing a pronoun as its NP which is the complement of a transitive phrasal verb. Rule 45 states that only non-pronominal complements can stand after the phrasal particle and prohibits sentences like

A customer looks-up a code.

* A customer looks-up it.

If the complement is a prepositional phrase, it can stand in the end position even if its NP is a pronoun:

A boy looks-up to a famous actor.

A boy looks-up to him.

This means that the pronominal feature is not passed on from an NP to its dominating PP and prepositional phrases are always non-pronominal.

When a prepositional phrase has been moved to the front of a question, it leaves a gap behind (85). Note that, in an implementation, rule (85) can get into an infinite loop, if it is parsed in combination with rule (41) and its gap feature is not properly restricted. An infinite number of emtpy verb modifiers (adjuncts) would be generated in this case.


PP[-PRO] →
	Preposition NPCoord[+THIRD]

Example: into a slot
Example: to a clerk
Example: with a card and a code


9 Relative Clauses

Rule (64) defines at which position relatives clauses occur within an N'. Relative clauses can be coordinated (88). Relative clauses follow the same coordination rules as clauses, with appropriate hierarchy for or, and with and without comma.


RelativeClauseCoordRelativeClauseCoord_1 ( CommaOr RelativeClauseCoord )

RelativeClauseCoord_1RelativeClauseCoord_2 ( CommaAnd RelativeClauseCoord_1 )

RelativeClauseCoord_2RelativeClauseCoord_3 ( Or RelativeClauseCoord_2 )

RelativeClauseCoord_3RelativeClause ( And RelativeClauseCoord_3 )

Example: [a card] that is green and that is valid

A relative clause can either be introduced by the complementizer that (89, 91) or by a relative NP coordination or PP (90, 93). The constituent to which a relative clause refers can either be its subject (8991), or it can be a complement or adjunct (93). If it is a complement or an adjunct, like in rule 93, then it has been moved from the VP of the relative clause and has left a corresponding gap, namely an NP coordination in an oblique case or a PP, which cannot be interrogative or relative. Furthermore, it is followed by the subject of the relative clause (a non-relative NP coordination in nominative case).


RelativeClause →
	that VP[-INF]

Example: [a customer] that enters a card

RelativeClause →
	that NPCoord[-R,+NOM,+THIRD] VP[-INF]/NPCoord[-WH,-NOM]

Example: [A card] that a customer enters

RelativeClauseNPCoord[+R,+NOM,+THIRD] VP[-INF]

RelativeClauseNPCoord[+R,-NOM,+THIRD] NPCoord[-R,+NOM,+THIRD] VPCoord[-INF]/NPCoord[-WH,-NOM]

Example: [a table] which is green
Example: [a customer] who enters a card
Example: [a customer] whose card is valid
Example: [A card] which a customer enters
Example: [A man] who a customer sees
Example: whose brother he sees

RelativeClausePP[+R] NPCoord[-R,+NOM,+THIRD] VP[-INF]/PP[-WH]

Example: at which he looks
Example: at each of which he looks

10 Adjective Phrases / Adverb Phrases

Adjective phrase coordinations (94a, 94b) have a predicative usage only, i.e. they function as the complement of the copula only (52). Attributive usage, modifying a noun (64), is only possible with bare adjective coordinations (101).

Only adjective phrases that do not contain a noun phrase are allowed to be coordinated with "and".


APCoordAPCoordX | APItr | APTr

Example: more important and rich
Example: valid
Example: more important than Mary
Example: as important as Bill
Example: fond-of Mary
Example: more fond-of Mary than Bill
Example: as fond-of Mary as of Sue

APCoordXAPItr ( and APCoordX )

Example: more important and rich

An adjective phrase (AP) can either be an intransitive adjective (99) or a transitive adjective followed by an noun phrase (coordination) (100). Transitive adjective phrases receive the feature values which indicate whether they contain a negative or universally quantified noun phrase as their argument.


APTrTransitiveAdjective NPCoord[+THIRD]

Example: [A man is] fond-of Mary [.]
Example: [A man is] interested-in an account [.]

Note that transitive adjectives must be followed by a noun phrase (coordination) which is linguistically not correct, since instead, they should be followed by a PP. We require the preposition of the PP to be attached to the adjective.


APTrTransitiveAdjective[+COMP] NPCoord[+THIRD] than NPCoord[+THIRD]

Example: [A man is] more fond-of Mary than Bill [.]

APTrTransitiveAdjective[+COMP] NPCoord[+THIRD] than Preposition NPCoord[+THIRD]

Example: [A man is] more fond-of Mary than of Bill [.]

APTr →
	as TransitiveAdjective[+POS] NPCoord[+THIRD] as NPCoord[+THIRD]

Example: [A man is] as fond-of Mary as Bill [.]

APTr →
	as TransitiveAdjective[+POS] NPCoord[+THIRD] as Preposition NPCoord[+THIRD]

Example: [A man is] as fond-of Mary as of Bill [.]


Example: [A] green [card]
Example: [A card is] green [.]

APItrIntransitiveAdjective[+COMP] than NPCoord[+THIRD]

Example: [a customer A is] more important than a customer B [.]

APItr →
	as IntransitiveAdjective[+POS] as NPCoord[+THIRD]

Example: [a customer A is] as important as a customer B [.]

In attributive position (64), only non-comparative intransitive adjectives or coordinations of them (101) can occur.


AdjectiveCoordIntransitiveAdjective ( and AdjectiveCoord )

Multiple adverbs must be conjoined by 'and' (not concatenated like PPs). An adverb coordination can either be a coordination of one or more non-interrogative (-Q) adverbs, a single interrogative adverb (102), or a gap left behind when an adjunct was moved to the front of a question (104). Note that non-interrogative adverbs are not allowed in copula constructions.


AdverbCoord[-Q] →
	Adverb ( and AdverbCoord[-Q] )

AdverbCoord[+Q] →
	WhAdverb ( and AdverbCoord[-Q] )

AdverbCoord/AdverbCoord →

11 Function Words

Function words are predefined and cannot be changed by the user.


Aux →
	( do | does | are | is | be | must | can | should | may )

AuxRest →
	( not | not provably | not provably not | has to | have to | not have to |
	be | have to be | has to be | not have to be | not be )

Only the following combinations of "Aux (...) AuxRest" are possible (the content of Aux is marked by square brackets):

 [does] not
 [do] not
 [is] not
 [are] not
 [does] not provably
 [do] not provably
 [is] not provably
 [are] not provably
 [does] not provably not
 [do] not provably not
 [is] not provably not
 [are] not provably not
 [] has to
 [] have to
 [does] have to
 [do] have to
 [does] not have to
 [do] not have to
 [must] be
 [] has to be
 [] have to be
 [does] have to be
 [do] have to be
 [does] not have to be
 [do] not have to be
 [can] be
 [can] not
 [can] not be
 [should] be
 [should] not
 [should] not be
 [may] be
 [may] not
 [may] not be  

CommaAnd →
	, and

CommaOr →
	, or

And →

Or →

Determiner[+DEF] →

Determiner[+EXISTS,+SG] →
	a | an

Determiner[+EXISTS,-SG] →

Determiner[+FORALL,+NEG] →

Determiner[+FORALL,+SG] →
	every | each

Determiner[+FORALL,+SG,+NEG] →
	not every | not each

Determiner[+FORALL,-SG] →

Determiner[+FORALL,-SG,+NEG] →
	not all

Determiner[+EXISTS,-SG,+Q] →
	how many | how much

Determiner[+EXISTS,-MASS,+Q] → which | whose


DistributiveMarker →
	each of

DistributiveGlobalQuantor →
	for each of

UniversalGlobalQuantor →
	for | not for

Example: for [every]
Example: for [all]
Example: for [no]
Example: not for [every]

ExistentialGlobalQuantor →
	there is | there are

ExistentialGlobalQuestionQuantor →
	is there | are there

GeneralisedQuantor →
	( at most | at least | more than | less than | exactly )

Example: [John sees] at most [5 dogs.]

SentenceInit →
	it is false | it is not true | it is possible | it is not possible |
	it is necessary | it is not necessary | it is not provable | it is true |
	it is not false

Example: it is false [that ...]
Example: it is not true [that ...]
Example: it is possible [that ...]

SentenceQuestion →
	is it true | is it not true | is it false | is it not false

Example: Is it true [that ... ?]
Example: Is is not false [that ... ?]
Example: Is it false [that ... ?]
Example: Is it not true [that ... ?]


Example: its
Example: their


Example: his own
Example: their own

IrreflexivePossessivePronoun →
	its | his | her | his/her | her/his | their | your

ReflexivePossessivePronoun →
	its own | his own | her own | his/her own | her/his own | their own |
	your own


Example: it
Example: him/her


Example: herself
Example: themselves

Pronoun(+Q) →

Example: what
Example: who

Pronoun(+R) →

Example: which
Example: who

IrreflexivePronoun →
	it | he | she | he/she | she/he | they | you | him | her | him/her |
	her/him | them

ReflexivePronoun →
	itself | himself | herself | himself/herself | herself/himself |
	themselves | yourself | yourselves

WhPronoun →
	what | who

RelativePronoun →
	which | who

SaxonGenitiveMarker →
	's | '

Example: [John]'s [car]
Example: [Thomas]' [dog]

WhAdverb →
	how | where | when

Variable →
	'A' | 'B' | ... | 'Z' | 'A1' | 'B1' | ... | 'Z1' | 'A2' | 'B2' | ...

12 Content Words

Content words are defined in the lexicon. The users can add their own words.

12.1 Adverbs


Adverb[+POS] →

Example: fast
Example: frequently

Adverb[+COMP] →

Adverb[+COMP] →
	more PositiveAdverb

Example: faster
Example: more frequently

Adverb[+SUP] →

Adverb[+SUP] →
	most PositiveAdverb

Example: fastest
Example: most frequently

12.2 Intransitive Adjectives


IntransitiveAdjective[+POS] →

Example: rich
Example: expensive

IntransitiveAdjective[+COMP] →

IntransitiveAdjective[+COMP] →
	more PositiveIntransitiveAdjective

Example: richer
Example: more expensive

IntransitiveAdjective[+SUP] →

IntransitiveAdjective[+SUP] →
	most SuperlativeIntransitiveAdjective

Example: richest
Example: most expensive

12.3 Transitive Adjectives


TransitiveAdjective[+POS] →

Example: fond-of
Example: pessimistic-about

TransitiveAdjective[+COMP] →

TransitiveAdjective[+COMP] →
	more PositiveTransitiveAdjective

Example: fonder-of
Example: more pessimistic-about

TransitiveAdjective[+SUP] →

TransitiveAdjective[+SUP] →
	most PositiveTransitiveAdjective

Example: fondest-of
Example: most pessimistic-about

12.4 Trunk Nouns for Anonymous Pronouns

Anonymous pronouns like 'something', 'everyone', and 'nobody' are processed as 'a -thing', 'every -one', and 'no -body', respectively. Rule 209 treats the trunks '-thing', '-body', and '-one' as nouns.


N →
	-thing | -body | -one

12.5 Countable Nouns


N[+SG] →

Example: mouse
Example: credit-card

N[+PL] →

Example: mice
Example: credit-cards

12.6 Mass Nouns


N[+MASS] →

Example: water
Example: freedom

12.7 Measurement Nouns


MeasurementNoun[+SG] →

Example: kg
Example: man-hour

MeasurementNoun[+PL] →

Example: kg
Example: man-hours

12.8 Proper Names


Propername[+SG] →

Example: John
Example: Switzerland

Propername[+PL] →

Example: USA

12.9 Ditransitive Verbs



Example: gives


Example: give


Example: give

V[+DITR,+BE] →

Example: given

12.10 Transitive Verbs


V[+TR,-BE,-INF,-PL] →

Example: sees

V[+TR,-BE,-INF,+PL] →

Example: see

V[+TR,-BE,+INF] →

Example: see

V[+TR,+BE] →

Example: seen

12.11 Intransitive Verbs


V[+ITR,-BE,-INF,-PL] →

Example: waits

V[+ITR,-BE,-INF,+PL] →

Example: wait

V[+ITR,-BE,+INF] →

Example: wait

12.12 Prepositions



Example: in
Example: from
Example: thoughout