Methods of of structural linguistics are based on the notions of position, co-occurrence and substitution (substitutability).
The total set of environments of a certain element is its distribution. The term distribution denotes the occurrence of an element relative to other elements. Elements may be in:
1) non-contrastive distribution (the same position, no difference in meaning; variants of the same element): hoofs - hooves;
2) contrastive distribution (the same position, different meanings): She is charming. She is charmed.
3) complementary distribution (mutual exclusiveness of pairs of forms in a certain environment; the same meaning, different positions; variants of the same element): cows - oxen.
The distributional model (Ch.Fries) shows the linear order of sentence constituents. The syntactic structure of the sentence is presented as a sequence of positional classes of words. Showing the linear order of classes of words the model does not show the syntactic relations of sentence constituents. It does not show the ambiguity of sentence.
This drawback is overcome by the IC-model. A sentence is a structured string of words, grouped into phrases. So sentence constituents are words and word-groups. The basic principle for grouping words into phrases (endo- or exocentric) is cohesion, or the possibility to substitute one word for the whole group without destroying the sentence structure. The sentence is built by 2 immediate constituents: NP+VP, each of which may have constituents of its own. Constituents which cannot be further divided are called ultimate (UC). The IС model exists in 2 main versions: the analytical model and the derivation tree. The analytical model divides the sentence into IC-s and UC-s. The derivation tree shows the syntactic dependence of sentence constituents.
So the IC-model shows both the syntactic relations and the linear order of elements.