surface structure

noun Linguistics, (in transformational-generative grammar)
1.
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.
2.
the string of words that is actually produced.

Origin:
1960–65

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World English Dictionary
surface structure
 
n
generative grammar Compare deep structure a representation of a string of words or morphemes as they occur in a sentence, together with labels and brackets that represent syntactic structure

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Example sentences
How active a catalyst is depends strongly on its morphology and surface structure.
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