vP-fronting with and without remnant movement

Gary Thoms, George Walkden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this paper, we consider two kinds of vP-fronting constructions in English and argue that they receive quite different analyses. First, we show that English vP-preposing does not have the properties that would be expected of a movement-derived dependency. Evidence for this conclusion is adduced from the licensing conditions on its occurrence, from the availability of morphological mismatches, and from reconstruction facts. By contrast, we show that English participle preposing is a well-behaved case of vP-movement, contrasting with vP-preposing with respect to reconstruction properties in particular. We propose that the differences between the two constructions follow from the interaction of two constraints: the excluded middle constraint (EMC), which rules out derivations involving spellout of linearly intermediate copies only, and the N-only constraint, which restricts movement to occurring where the trace position would license a nominal. The EMC rules out deriving vP-fronting by true movement and instead necessitates a base-generation analysis, while the N-only constraint ensures that participle preposing is only possible in limited circumstances.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-54
Number of pages54
JournalJournal of Linguistics
Early online date26 Feb 2018
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • ellipsis
  • linearization
  • reconstruction
  • remnant movement
  • vP-fronting


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