A Morphological approach to the absence of expletive PRO

Research output: Working paper

Abstract / Description of output

Whereas finite clauses can have impersonal readings, this possibility appears to be universally excluded for clauses headed by an infinitive. In other words, the understood subject of an infinitival clause must always be interpreted as an argument and can never be expletive. In this paper it is argued that this distinction between the two types of clause is ultimately caused by a purely morphological factor, namely whether or not the inflection on the verb that heads the clause is part of a paradigm or not. The analysis is based on the hypothesis that inflection can function as the subject argument of the verb. The account of the properties of infinitival clauses is extended to a particular class of languages in which the inflection on finite verbs is not part of a paradigm either.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherUCL Press
Pages291-319
Number of pages29
Volume14
Publication statusPublished - 2002

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