The article examines the Universal Dependencies (UD) annotation scheme. The UD project is an international initiative to produce treebanks of the world’s languages, whereby the treebanks have been annotated in a cross-linguistically consistent manner. A central aspect of the UD annotation scheme is its analysis of function words. The scheme advocates subordinating function words to content words. This article discusses linguistic and practical motivations behind the UD decision to subordinate function words to content words. It demonstrates that UD choices in this area are not supported linguistically. At the same time, the near convertibility of the UD treebanks to a more linguistically motivated annotation format means that the UD initiative remains of great value to linguistics in general.