We present a formalism for the scattering of an arbitrary linear or acyclic branched structure build by joining mutually non-interacting arbitrary functional sub-units. The formalism consists of three equations expressing the structural scattering in terms of three equations expressing the sub-unit scattering. The structural scattering expressions allow composite structures to be used as sub-units within the formalism itself. This allows the scattering expressions for complex hierarchical structures to be derived with great ease. The formalism is generic in the sense that the scattering due to structural connectivity is completely decoupled from internal structure of the sub-units. This allows sub-units to be replaced by more complex structures. We illustrate the physical interpretation of the formalism diagrammatically. By applying a self-consistency requirement, we derive the pair distributions of an ideal flexible polymer sub-unit. We illustrate the formalism by deriving generic scattering expressions for branched structures such as stars, pom-poms, bottle-brushes, and dendrimers build out of asymmetric two-functional sub-units.