You must be reading Chomsky, correct?
The following article may be helpful to you: Deep structure - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
I found the following explanation in the archives of this Forum:
This may be a little simplistic, but think of deep structure as the image/object/action.
For example, imagine two men at the corner of a street intersection talking.
The words we use to describe that become the surface structure, and those words may vary but they all convey the same deep strucure.
Two men are at the street corner/intersection talking/speaking/having a conversation.
At the street corner/intersection, two men are talking/speaking/having a conversation.
Two men are talking/speaking/having a conversation at the street corner/intersection.
I hope you find these references helpful.
- For Teachers