In most theories of grammar, sentences can be broken into smaller chunks called phrases and these phrases can be broken into smaller chunks, smaller phrases still. So in the sentence:
- He is happy.
We see two phrases, a noun phrase he functioning as Subject, and a verb phrase is happy functioning as Predicate:
- [He] [is happy]
I am wondering, however, what the verb phrase/predicate is in the sentence:
- Is he happy?
This sentence does not divide easily into two straightforward chunks.
The plethora of references regarding syntactic (as opposed to semantic) Predicates, and the enormous online literature on verb phrases (VP's) seems to ignore cases where the auxiliary verb has been moved to a position before the Subject.
This is the situation in the example above. In such sentences, what is the structure of the verb phrase, and is the auxiliary verb still part of the verb phrase?
Is there a standard grammar of English which allows for discontinuous verb phrase Predicates?