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Title: Verbal Ellipsis in English Coordinate Constructions
Authors: Russell, Graham
Keywords: Indo-European Languages
Germanic Languages
Issue Date: 1987
Publisher: University of Sussex
Abstract: A complete grammar for coordination in English must give some account of the various constructions which appear to violate the general principle that only identical constituents may be coordinated. It is argued that a number of such exceptions, hitherto widely regarded as distinct phenomena, are best treated as a class in being analysed in terms of a phonetically null verb. In this way, it is possible to preserve both the assumption that coordination involves constituents and the assumption that coordinated constituents are identical. Many previous attempts to account for these facts have made use of rules deleting or copying elliptical material. Some of these are reviewed, and some of their drawbacks illustrated. By contrast, the syntactic aspects of the present treatment lie within the more restricted resources of Generalized Phrase Structure Grammar. The burden of accounting for the acceptability of elliptical constructions is shifted from the syntactic component of the grammar to the procedure by which null verbs are interpreted. Many of the ostensibly syntactic facts concerning the form and distribution of elliptical constituents may be stated more economically as conditions on the accessibility of an antecedent, which, if not met, serve to prevent interpretation altogether.
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