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Transformational grammar is an approach to the use of grammar in communications that involves a logical and analytical process to fully grasp the meaning behind the words selected. From this perspective, it goes beyond the process of structural grammar, which tends to focus on the proper construction of sentences as the device for communication. Along with sentence structure, this type of grammar will also attempt to explore the thought behind the words.
Sometimes referred to as TG, transformational grammar attempts to apply logic to the task of looking into the deeper meanings of the structure of sentences, and to analyze both the surface and the underlying intent of the words used. This means employing more than just a visual approach to the words that make up the sentence. Syntax also plays a role in the logical process of transformational grammar, as will context. To a degree, this type of grammar calls upon most of the tools of linguistics in an attempt to fully analyze the spoken or written word.
One of the main proponents of the idea of transformational grammar was Noam Chomsky. During the middle portion of the 20th century, Chomsky worked to develop a logical approach to analyzing the syntax of structural grammar within the setting of the English language. As a result of his efforts, Chomsky developed and promoted the concept of grammar as being a broader theory regarding language structure, rather than simply defining a method for developing the structure for sentences. This approach had been inherent for centuries in the broader concepts of universal grammar. But due to the work of Chomsky, linguists and grammarians began to understand transformational grammar as a discipline all its own.
People engage in the task of approaching grammar from a transformational approach every day. In some cases, it is a matter of employing grammar as a means of comprehending a grouping of words within the setting or context, rather than focusing on the actual structure of the words. At other times, this type of grammar is utilized as a means of conveying more than one meaning. The double-entendre may be thought of as a limited example of transformational grammar, as the device provides both a surface and a hidden conveyance of ideas.