A Guide to BNF Definitions
in the MLP Medical Grammar
Based on the BNF definitions of the MLP English Grammars, listed in Appendix 2 in Naomi Sager, Natural Language Information Processing: A Computer Grammar of English and Its Applications, Addison-Wesley, 1981.
As updated for parsing clinical narrative: 101 definitions deleted (unhighlighted dark green), 65 definitions added. Active definitions and relevant examples are in white.
For a list of major MLP lexical categories, see Major MLP lexical categories.

Name of BNF Definition Explanation Example
ADJADJ Recursive Adjectivals 17 yr old muscular athletically active male
ADJINRN Adjective occurring as Right adjunct of a Noun (RN) the people present
ADJPREQ Adjective occurring pre-Quantity the last 2 visits
ANDSTG Conjunction string headed by 'and'
AND-ORSTG Conjunction string headed by 'and/or'
APOS Adjective position in Left adjuncts of Noun (LN)
APPOS Apposition Noun phrase her outpatient psychiatrist Dr. YYY
ASOBJBE 'as'+ Object of 'be' seen as probable
diagnosed as being asthmatic
ASSERTION Declarative sentence form Patient presented with chest pain.
ASSERTIONZ Null Assertion + Sentence Adjunct He left, and fast.
ASSTG 'as' + string
ASTG Adjective string as object or predicate forced open
was open
ASTGF Adjective string as FRAGMENT allergic to penicillin
AS-WELL-AS-STG Conjunction string headed by 'as well as'
AVAR Adjective and variants: ADJ, VING, VEN slow gait
bleeding gums
decreased appetite
BESHOW Subject + Object of 'be' or 'show', as FRAGMENT lungs clear
EKG: normal sinus rhythm
BESUBJ Subject in BESHOW string
BPART Bodypart or area modifier to the right of a noun ankle fracture, left
BEINGO 'being' + Object (as object of BE) He is being difficult.
BOTHSTG 'both' string
BUTSTG Conjunction string headed by 'but'
C1SHOULD Tenseless form of ASSERTION request a biopsy be performed
CENTER Central string of SENTENCE
COMMASTG Conjunction string headed by a comma
COMPAR Comparative complement It is so old that it is decaying.
CPDNUMBR Compound number one hundred
CSSTG CS (subordinate conjunction) strings
DASHSTG Dash string
DATEPREP Date preposition until, since, etc.
DATEVAR Various forms of date
DPSN Particle + SN He found out that we went.
DP1 Adverbial Particle DP as verb object carry on
bear up
DP2 DP + Noun phrase, as verb object find out the reason
add up 3 numbers
DP3 Noun phrase + DP, as verb object find it out
add them up
DP4 DP + 'of' + Noun phrase the adding up of 3 numbers
DPIP DP + P (preposition)
DPIPN DP1 + PN lines up with the vertical
looks out for her brother
DP2PN DP2 + PN line up X1 with X2
DP3PN DP3 + PN line it up with X2
DP4PN 'of'-permutation of DP3 + PN (prepositional phrase)
DSTG Adverb string as verb object means well
doing poorly
EGSTG Conjunction string headed by 'e.g.'
EKGSTG Description of wave forms in electrocardiogram (EKG) 2-3 mm ST depressions in 3 and 5
EITHERSTG 'either' string
EMBEDDEDQ Embedded Question
ENDMARK Punctuation at end of CENTER string
ESPECIALLY-STG 'especially' string
FORTOVO 'for' + Subject + 'to' + Verb + Object For the patient to be admitted
FORTOVO-N 'for' + 'to' + Verb + Object (less one noun phrase-rn Object the person for John to see
FRAGMENT reduced ASSERTION (dropping Subject and/or verb 'be') on folic acid
abdomen soft
HOWQASTG 'how' + Quantifier ('much', 'many') or Adjective + [of] + article how much of the cake
how good an argument
HOWQSTG 'how' + Quantifier ('much', 'many') how much candy
IESTG Conjunction string headed by 'i.e.'
IMPERATIVE Imperative sentence in CENTER string
IN-DIM 'in' + a Dimension word 2 inches in length
IN-LEADS the leads portion of an EKG report downsloping ST segments in 2 and 3 and V4
INADDITIONTOSTG Conjunction string headed by 'in addition to'
INCLUDINGSTG Conjunction string headed by 'including'
INT-PHRASE Topic phrase preceding a colon Anesthesia : spinal
INTRODUCER Initial introductory phrase or conjunction Or another appointment can be scheduled
LA Left adjunct of Adjective very tender
LAR Left adjunct of Adjective + Adjective variants + Right adjunct of adjective very tender, swollen on the right
LARl LAR with limited Right adjuncts, as it occurs to the left of a noun
LD Left adjunct of adverb very highly elevated blood sugars
LDATE Left adjunct of date early 1998, mid March
LDATER Left adjunct of date + Date + Right adjunct of date 12/25/1999 at 3:00 AM
LDR Left adjunct of adverb + Adverb + Right adjunct of adverb very highly
LEADVAR names of the EKG leads in 2 and 3 and V4
LLEADR Left adjunct of LEADVAR + LEADVAR + Right adjunct of LEADVAR Q-waves in his inferior leads
LCDA Left part of Compound AdJective
LCDN Left part of Compound Noun
LCDVA Left part of Compound Verbal Adjective a hog raising farm
LCS Left adjunct of CS (subordinate conjunction)
LN Left adjuncts of the Noun (ordered: TPOS QPOS APOS NPOS) his 2 most recent PET scan results
LNAME Left adjunct of a Name Dr. Jones
LNAMER Left adjunct of a name + Name + Right adjunct of name
LNAMESR Left adjunct of name + possessive form of name
LNR Left adjuncts of the noun + Noun variants + Right adjuncts of the Noun elderly patient in no acute distress
LNS Left adjuncts of the possessive noun (N's) her brother's illness
LNSR Left adjuncts of the noun + N's (possessive-case noun) + limited Right adjuncts of the noun
LP Left adjunct of Preposition very near a breakdown
LPRO Left adjunct of Pronoun even he
LQ Left adjunct of Quantity about 10
approximately ten
LQNR Left adjunct of Quantity + QN string + Right adjunct of Quantity approximately 3 mm across
LQR Left adjunct of Quantity + Quantity + Right adjunct of Quantity about fifty or so
LT Left adjunct of Article (T) a third of the samples
LTR Left adjunct of Article (T) + T + Right adjunct of T a third of the samples
LV Left adjunct of Verb he slightly prefers
LVENR Left adjunct of verb + VEN (past participle) + Right adjunct of verb abnormally increased in size
LVINGR Left adjunct of Verb + VING (Ving form of Verb) + Right adjunct of verb which was minor bleeding from the lower GI tract
LVR Left adjunct of verb + tenseless verb (infinitive) + Right adjunct of verb cannot accurately recall at 5 minutes
LVSA Sentence Adjunct occurring to the Left of VING or VEN in the adjunct strings VINGO and VENPASS
LW Left adjunct of tense word W just may
LWVR EKG wave description: LN + WVVAR (wave variants) + Right adjunct of WVVAR downsloping ST segments in V4
MORE-QN Limited right recursion of QN
MORE-RA Limited right recursion of RA
MORE-RV Limited right recursion of RV
MORESENT Limited right recursion of SENTENCE
N-PRE-S Noun within 'wh'-string results of the cultures, which results were as noted
NA Noun phrase + Adjective, as object color it purple
ND Noun phrase + Adverb, as object put it aside
NAMEPART Name part (all parts of proper name preceding surname)
NAMESTG Name string (as value of NVAR)
NASOBJBE Noun phrase + 'as' + Object of be
ND Noun phrase + Adverb (as object) put it here
NEITHERSTG 'neither' (... 'nor') string
NN Indirect object Noun phrase + Noun phrase give him Codeine for his cough
NNN Nouns as Left adjuncts of a Noun home exercise program
NORSTG conjunction string headed by 'nor'
NOTOPT Optional
NPDOSE Noun phrase + Preposition + Dose string increase Diltiazem to 60 qid
NPN Noun phrase + Prepositional phrase, as object abstract the data from the chart
NPOS Noun Position in Left adjuncts of Noun (LN)
NPSNWH Noun phrase + Preposition + SNWH ('wh'-string as a Sentence Nominalization)
NPSVINGO Noun phrase + Preposition + Subject + VING (-'ing' form of verb) + Object
NPVINGO Noun phrase + Preposition + VING + Object, as object I advised him about stopping smoking
NPVINGSTG Noun phrase + Prepositional phrase + VINGSTG (either VINGOFN or NSVINGO)
NQ Noun phrase + Quantity/Letter on day 3
Model B spectrophotometer
NQ-TIME Noun phrase + Quantity preceding a time Preposition day 3 post MI
NSNWH Noun phrase + SNWH ('wh'-string as Sentence Nominalization
NSPOS Possessive Noun-of-type position of the ordered Left adjuncts of a noun long lost children's bicycle
NSTG Noun string in Subject or Predicate She had pain and stiffness
, it was
NSTG-PAREN Noun string occurring in parentheses
NSTGF Noun string as FRAGMENT Stage 1 left breast cancer
NSTGO Noun string as Object of Verb or Preposition She had angioplasty
This was new for him
NSTGT Noun string of time three days prior to admission
NSVINGO N's (possessive-case noun or pronoun) + VINGO
NTHATS Noun phrase + 'that' + ASSERTION The patient states that she has stopped smoking
NTOBE Noun phrase + 'to' + 'be' + Object of BE
NTOVO Noun phrase + 'to' + infinitive verb + Object discovered her to be anemic
want her to enroll
NVAR Noun and variants: Noun, Pronoun, Ving (and others) aspirin
a 42 year-old
NVSA Noun + Verb Sequence of the type: 'we know' It is, we know, unusual.
NWHSTG Noun replacer 'wh'-strings What he cooks tastes good. contrast with What he cooks depends on what's for sale
OBES Object of 'be' + tensed form of 'be' + Subject of 'be' Of critical importance is her stopping smoking
OBJBE Non-verbal Objects of 'be' was a singer
is anemic
is on Sinemet
was here
OBJBESA OBJBE occurring as Sentence Adjunct Undeterred, he reapplied
OBJECT Object strings of verbs in active voice
OBJECTBE All the objects of 'be': OBJBE, verbal strings is anemic
being followed
was admitted
ONESENT Definition of SENTENCE as one sentence in a TEXTLET
ORSTG Conjunction string headed by 'or'
P1 Preposition as passive object He was called on
it was talked about
PASSOBJ Object strings of verbs in passive voice
PA Preposition + Adjective at first
PAREN-ADJ Adjective in Parentheses large cyst (fluid-filled) on lt shoulder
PAREN-FRAG FRAGMENT in Parentheses urinalysis shows 2+ for blood (patient menstruating)
PAREN-NSTG NSTG in Parentheses gold (5 shots) led to rash on face
PAREN-RN RN in Parentheses left prostrate needle biopsy (manually)
PAREN-RV RV in Parentheses was treated there (until 12/10/1999)
PAREN-SA SA in Parentheses symptomatic progression despite anti-inflammatory therapy (although low dose)
PARTICULARLYSTG Conjunction string headed by 'particularly'
PASSOBJ Position of Passive Object in passive string VENPASS
PD Preposition + Adverb *** search parses for this *** she was transferred from there
PDATE Preposition + Date until 11/14/85
on 09/14/2000
PERMUTATION Permuted forms of the CENTER ASSERTION string
PDOSE Preposition + Dose Zocor was decreased to 30 mg qhs
PERUNIT 'per' + unit per hour;
per cc;
%; per cent
PLUSSTG Conjunction string headed by 'plus'
PN Prepositional phrase (Preposition + Noun phrase) since last visit
PNN Prepositional phrase + Noun phrase (permuted form of NPN)
PNSNWH Prepositional phrase + SNWH ('wh'-string as Sentence Nominalization)
PNTHATS Prepositional phrase + THATS ('that' + ASSERTION) It seems to him that he is improving
PQUANT Preposition + Quantity phrase BP increased to 150 / 80
drainage increased to 500 cc / hr
PROC Procedure element in BESHOW Chest xray : improvement in basilar opacity
PNTHATSVO Prepositional phrase + 'that' + tenseless ASSERTION
PNVINGSTG Prepositional phrase + VINGSTG (either VINGOFN or NSVINGO)
PROSENT Pronoun that refers to a preceding sentence
PSNWH Preposition + SNWH ('wh'-string as Sentence Nominalization)
PSTG A subset of prepositional object strings used in the lexicon
PSVINGO Preposition + SVINGO (Subject + Ving form of verb + Object) argues for him being discharged
PTIME Preposition + Time expression at 3 AM
PVINGO Preposition + VINGO (Ving form of Verb + Object) from playing tennis
PWHERES Preposition + 'where' string landed 20 yards from where he was struck
PWHNQ Preposition + 'wh'-containing Noun phrase + yes-no QuestIOn From which side did they enter?
PWHNQ-PN Preposition + 'wh'-containing Noun phrase + yes-no Question less a PN (prepositional phrase) in Object To whom is it attributed?
PWHNS Preposition + 'wh'-containing Noun phrase + ASSERTION the girl from whose apartment it was taken
PWHNS-PN Preposition + 'wh'-containing Noun phrase + ASSERTION leSS a PN in object the artist to whom it is attributed
PWHQ Preposition + 'wh'-word + yes-no Question For whom was it ordered?
PWHQ-PN Preposition + 'wh'-word + yes-no Question less a PN in Object On what is it based?
PWHS Preposition + 'wh'-word + ASSERTION from which she would recover over the next five minutes
PWHS-PN Preposition + 'wh'-word + ASSERTION less a PN in object On whom we can rely
Q-ASSERT Assertion used in analyzing comparative
Q-CONJ Body of conjunction string following a coordinate conjunction. Generated during processing.
Q-INVERT Inverted assertion used in analyzing comparative
Q-OF Quantity + 'of' preceding 'wh'-word 3 of which were positive
Q10S Quantity (in unities of 10) patient in her 70s
beats in the 40s per minute
QN Quantity + Noun (where Noun is a unit) 3 inch
2 mm
QNREP Repeated QN sequence 4 lb. 2 oz.
QNS Quantifier + possessive unit noun a 4 month's history of headaches
QNPOS Position of the QN string and NQ string in the ordered Left adjuncts of a noun
Q-PHRASE 'ever', 'usual', 'necessary' in comparative We will wait as long as usual.
QN-OF Quantity + Noun + 'of' as Left adjunct of N 2 days of abdominal pain
QN-TIME Quantity + Noun as Left adjunct of time preposition 2 days after admission
QPER Quantity + '/' + unit Noun in QVAR a 10 / cc solution
QPERUNIT Quantity + forms of 'per' + unit She tries to limit it to just one per day
QPOS Quantity Position of the ordered Left adjuncts of a noun.
QUANT Quantity expression 150 / 80
500 cc / hr
QUESTION Question as CENTER string of a SENTENCE
QVAR Quantity Variants 3
3 out of 5
10 / cc
RA Right adjuncts of an Adjective unwilling to have the procedure
RA.1 'enough' or NULL as Right adjunct of an Adjective occurring as Left adjunct of a noun
RANGE a range of values within 2 - 3 hours;
10 - 20; 10 to 20
RATIO values in the form Q/Q 2+ / 2
RD Right adjunct of an Adverb (nil, for conformity to LXR type definition)
RDATE Right adjunct of Date
REG-ADJ special for 'regular' Pulse 64 and regular
RLEAD Right adjunct of EKG lead
RN Right adjunct position of a Noun (repeatable)
RNOPTS Right adjuncts of a Noun
RNAME Right adjuncts of a Name
RNP Strings beginning with a Preposition as Right adjuncts of a Noun phrase
RN*R Right adjuncts of a Noun phrase (*R indicates adjunction is repeatable)
RNSUBJ Right adjuncts of a Noun Subject at a distance A procedure is described which. ..
RNWH Relative clause ('wh'-string), as Right adjunct of a Noun a cortisone injection which provided relief
RQ Right adjunct of a quantity two thirds or so
RSUBJ Roving noun adjunct, quantifier type They each concluded that...
We are all amazed
RT Right adjunct of Article (nil, defined for conformity to LXR type definition)
RV Right adjunct of a Verb evaluate endoscopically
RW Right adjunct of tense word He is not coming
she can barely lift her arm
RWV Right adjunct position of a Wave-form word
RWVOPTS Right adjuncts of Wave-form word 2 mm ST depression in 2 and 3
S-N Assertion less one Noun phrase (headless relative clause) the suggestion we made
SA Sentence Adjunct position
SA-LAST SA as last element of a string
SACONJ limited Sentence Adjuncts following a Conjunction and in the meantime
SAOPTS Sentence Adjuncts at night
because it is easier
because it is easier for him
SASOBJBE Subject + 'as' + Object of 'be' accept her as an outpatient
SAWH 'wh'-strings in the set of Sentence Adjuncts
SAWHICHSTG 'which'-string (relative clause) as Sentence Adjunct She left, which surprised him.
SAZ Adjunct of a zeroed Sentence under conjunction He left, and fast.
SCALESTG Scale string (Dimension words in a measurement phrase) 2 inches in length
one cm wide
SECT-NAME Section Name in a clinical document ASSESSMENT
SECTION Position for Section Name in a clinical document
SENTENCE Root node for parsing one or more sentences
SN Sentence Nominalization
SNWH 'wh'-string as a Sentence Nominalization
SOBJBE Subject + Object of 'be' consider it necessary
maintain him stable
SOBJBESA Subject + Object of 'be' occurring as Sentence Adjunct --
STOVO-N Subject + TOVO-N string as object
SUBO Subordinate conjunction + Object of 'be' when conscious of my observation
SUB1 Subordinate conjunction + Assertion because her blood pressure has been well controlled
SUB1-PHRASE Subordinate conjunction phrase He is responsive in that he would open his eyes
SUB2 Subordinate conjunction + VENPASS (passive verb with its passive object) since last documented
SUB3 Subordinate conjunction + VINGO (Ving form of verb + Object) since being on Prednisone
SUB4 Subordinate conjunction + VING string (either VINGOFN or NSVINGO)
SUB5 Subordinate conjunction + SVINGO (Subject + Ving form of verb + Object) without anyone noticing it
SUB6 Subordinate conjunction + Subject + Object of 'be' with noone on the premises
SUB7 Subordinate conjunction + SVEN
SUB8 Subordinate conjunction (as) + partial inverted Assertion as were the other medications
SUB9 Subordinate conjunction + infinitive verb + Object in order to break this cycle
in order to gain control
SUB11 Time phrase (TM-PHRASE) + Assertion during which time he remained unconscious
SUB12 'should' + tenseless Assertion instruct to call should she have any fevers
SUB13 SUB1-PHRASE + Assertion He is responsive in that he would open his eyes
SUBJECT Position of Subject in Assertion
SVEN Subject + passive verb with its passive object (VENPASS) She does not need it drained at this time
SVINGO Subject + Ving form of verb + Object noticed him breathing irregularly
SVO Subject + tenseless Verb + Object recommend she be admitted
T-DATE 'the' + a span of time given by decade during the 70's
TENSE Tense word with left and right adjuncts will, can, just may, should
TEXTLET Definition allowing for multiple sentences
THANSTG Conjunction string headed by 'than'
THATS 'that' + ASSERTION the fact that his hands and face appear to be turning blue,
We think that he could benefit from it
THATS-N 'that' + ASSERTION less one Noun phrase (relative clause with word 'that' instead of 'wh'-word)
THIS-THAT 'this' or 'that' used adjectively Her blood pressure has not been this elevated
TITLE A Title used as part of a name Mr.
TOBE 'to' + 'be' as tenseless Verb + Object
TOSTG 'to' + Adjective as Right adjunct of Adjective stating a range It's color was pinkish to red
TOVO 'to' + tenseless Verb + Object They intend to treat medically initially
She will try to stop smoking
TOVO-N 'to' + tenseless Verb + Object less one Noun phrase in Object the person to contact
TPOS Article (definer) position in LN
TQ 'each' or 'all' in adjunct string each lasting 3 minutes
TQVINGO TQ + Ving of Verb + Object each lasting 3 minutes
TSUBJVO Tense + Subject + tenseless Verb + Object Nor was there paradoxical motion of his abdomen
Nor did she have any associated nausea
TVO Tense + tenseless Verb + Object Will do PAP smear in 2 weeks
VENPASS VEN (past participle) + Passive Object Patient was admitted for coronary angiography which was performed yesterday
VERB tensed or tenseless Verb with optional left and Right adjuncts She coughed alot
He was not able to sleep
VERBl tense-word or tensed 'be' or 'have' in Question
VERB2 2nd Verb position in Question
VINGO Ving form of Verb + Object She was sleeping
suggest obtaining MRI tomorrow
pain radiating to the shoulder
VINGOFN Ving + 'of' + Noun phrase
VINGSTGPN VING string + PN (prepositional phrase)
VO tenseless Verb + Object Schedule followup
Obtain last lab results
VVAR Verb Variants (tensed or tenseless verb) goes
will go
WHATS-N 'what' + ASSERTION less one Noun phrase That is what he said
WHEN-PHRASE Time phrase in WHENS at which point
during which
WHENS 'when' or WHEN-PHRASE or NULL + ASSERTION ('when' can be omitted (NULL) if string adjoins time-noun) Until 08/27/1996 when she developed substernal chest pain
The day he fell
WHERES 'where' + ASSERTION where a neurology consult was obtained
WHETHS 'whether' + ASSERTION to determine whether or not she needed catheterization
Or whether they occurred at all
WHETHS 'whether' + TOVO whether to catheterize
WHOSEG 'who' + Tense + Verb + Object, as FRAGMENT (for run-on sentences ending in 'who' string Patient presented with [...], who could speak only Russian
WHOSES 'whose' + Assertion whose last admission was in 03/18/1990
WHETHTOVO 'whether' (or other 'wh'-words) + 'to' + Verb + Object
WHEVERS-N 'wh'-ever ('whoever', 'whenever', 'whichever', 'Whatever') + ASSERTION Less one Noun phrase
WHLN 'wh'-word ('whose', 'which', 'what', 'how' string) as a Left-adjunct of a Noun
WHN Noun phrase or VINGOFN string carrying a 'wh'-word
WHNQ-N 'wh'-containing Noun phrase + yes-no (less one Noun phrase)
QUESTION Question as CENTER string of a SENTENCE
WHNS-N 'wh'-containing Noun phrase + ASSERTION less one Noun phrase
WHQ 'wh'-word + yes-no QUESTION
WHQ-N 'wh'-word + yes-no QUESTION or ASSERTION less one Noun phrase
WHS-N 'wh'-word + ASSERTION less one Noun phrase which he has come to call () angina,
that () was markedly abnormal
WVVAR waveform variants in EKG sentence 4 mm ST segment depression
YESNOQ Yes-No QUESTION Have you a book? Did she leave?

Copyright © 2005 by Medical Language Processing, LLC.