The syntax of ellipsis and related phenomena

Authored by: Masaya Yoshida , Chizuru Nakao , Iván Ortega-Santos

The Routledge Handbook of Syntax

Print publication date:  May  2014
Online publication date:  April  2014

Print ISBN: 9780415533942
eBook ISBN: 9781315796604
Adobe ISBN: 9781317751045


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A variety of linguistic expressions can appear in what looks like incomplete utterances. For example, in (1a), a verb (= the head of a verb phrase (VP)) is omitted, in (1b) a noun and its complement (= a noun phrase (NP)) are omitted, and in (1c) the whole clause (= a Tense Phrase (TP)) is omitted, leaving a wh-element behind.

John ate bananas and Mary, ate caviar.

John read Sapir’s book on philosophy, and Mary read Chomsky’s book on philosophy.

John ate something, but I don’t know what John ate.

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