Missing PREP - redux

Arnold M. Zwicky zwicky at CSLI.STANFORD.EDU
Thu Apr 10 15:11:52 UTC 2008

On Apr 9, 2008, at 7:10 PM, Randy Alexander wrote:

> CGEL has some similar examples, but using gaps:
> p1047 ex [40]ia. I want a car(i) [that I know [___(i) is safe]].
> p1083 ex [16]ii. *He's the man(i) [they think [that ___(i) attacked
> her]].
> p1090 ex [36]iii Here's a book(i) [I think [___(i) might help us]].

this is just a description of the standard english pattern, with 0
inside the relative clause, in fact inside an object complement clause
within the relative clause (where it represents the subject of the
complement clause).  the examples we've been talking about have "who"
or "that" in the position of standard 0.

the second example illustrates the famous "that-trace effect" (known
under various other names): the combination of complementizer "that"
with a 0 subject (representing a NP that has been either relativized
or questioned) in its complement is generally unacceptable.  (there's
now a huge literature about circumstances in which the configuration
is more acceptable and about speakers who do not seem to be subject to
the constraint.)

the first and third examples are ok because the complements (of "know"
and "think", respectively) lack a complementizer "that" (though they
do have 0 subjects).  (the first example has an earlier "that", but
it's the relativizer "that" and is irrelevant for that-trace.)


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