Helping verbs? ellipsis.

Thu Apr 17 21:06:25 UTC 1997

(I get ARE for the judgement previous)  for a formalization of WHY, see

David Gohre, Grad Student, Spanish/Portuguese
Indiana University

My opinions on TO BE,

To be, in Standard English, functions as an auxiliary, rather than a main
verb:  Consider a complex Who/what/where question.

+WH     AUX     SUBJ            verb

What    did     John            do?
Where   do      you             live
What    is      the solution    0 (zero)
?Who    do      you             be (different from Standard English)
*what   does    the solution    be (ungrammatical in Standard English)

This kind of data makes me conclude that "to be" is an auxiliary, not a
main verb.

So, withOUT ellipsis of the "verb", I get (elided part in parenthesis)

(1) You be (good for grandma), and if you are (good for grandma...)
(the two parentheses are equal here)

and not

(2) You be (good for grandma), and if you do (be good for grandma...)
(the two parentheses are not equal here.

>>From my perceptional standpoint, the elided part of the sentence
is/must be identical to a previous, spoken/realized part of the earlier
sentence, therefore, I find that (1) above, with "ARE" is accepable, and
(2) below is not.  This is merely a formalization of my intuitions, I am
not letting my "theory" cloud my judgement.

I am from the Great lakes region, having lived there until age 25.

WHILE I know that it's not a popular standpoint, especially on FUNKNET,
the Mimimalist program's COPY AND DELETE is evolved from analyses like
the above.

For a treatment on "be" as an auxiliary, even as the sentence "I am
sick", you can see the following reference.

Pollock Jean Y.(1989)  Universal grammar, Verb Movement, and the structure
of IP Linguistic Inquiry, 20.


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