We are concerned with the syntactic annotation of unrestricted text. We
combine a rule-based analysis with subsequent exploitation of empirical data.
The rule-based surface syntactic analyser leaves some amount of ambiguity in
the output that is resolved using empirical patterns. We have implemented a
system for generating and applying corpus-based patterns. Some patterns
describe the main constituents in the sentence and some the local context of
the each syntactic function. There are several (partly) reduntant patterns, and
the ``pattern'' parser selects analysis of the sentence that matches the
strictest possible pattern(s). The system is applied to an experimental corpus.
We present the results and discuss possible refinements of the method from a
linguistic point of view.