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C O N T RO L A S M OV E M E N T

The movement theory of control (MTC) makes one major claim: that control
relations in sentences like John wants to leave are grammatically mediated by movement. This goes against the traditional view that such sentences
involve not movement, but binding, and analogizes control to raising, albeit
with one important distinction: whereas the target of movement in control
structures is a theta position, in raising it is a non-theta position; however, the
grammatical procedures underlying the two constructions are the same. This
book presents the main arguments for MTC and shows it to have many theoretical advantages, the biggest being that it reduces the kinds of grammatical
operations that the grammar allows, an important advantage in a minimalist
setting. It also addresses the main arguments against MTC, using examples
from control shift, adjunct control, and the control structure of promise,
showing MTC to be conceptually, theoretically, and empirically superior to
other approaches.
c e d r i c b o e c k x is Research Professor at the Catalan Institute for Advanced
Studies (ICREA), and a member of the Center for Theoretical Linguistics at
the Universitat Aut`onoma de Barcelona.
n o r b e r t h o r n s t e i n is Professor in the Department of Linguistics at the
University of Maryland, College Park.
ja i ro nun e s is Professor in the Department of Linguistics at the Universidade de Sao Paulo, Brazil.

In this series
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r o g e r l a s s : Historical linguistics and language change


j o h n m . a n d e r s o n: A notional theory of syntactic categories
bernd heine: Possession: cognitive sources, forces and grammaticalization
no m i e r t e sc hi k-shi r : The dynamics of focus structure
j o hn c o l e ma n: Phonological representations: their names, forms and powers
christina y . bethin: Slavic prosody: language change and phonological theory
b a r b a r a d a n c y g i e r : Conditionals and prediction
cla i re l e f e b v r e : Creole genesis and the acquisition of grammar: the case of Haitian
creole
heinz g iegerich: Lexical strata in English
keren rice: Morpheme order and semantic scope
a pril m c m a h o n: Lexical phonology and the history of English
m a tth e w y . c he n : Tone Sandhi: patterns across Chinese dialects
g r e g o r y t . s t u m p : Inflectional morphology: a theory of paradigm structure
j o a n b y b e e: Phonology and language use
la uri e b aue r : Morphological productivity
t h o m a s e r n s t: The syntax of adjuncts
eli z ab e t h c l o ss t r a ug o t t and r i c har d b . d a s h e r : Regularity in semantic
change
m a y a h i c k m a n n: Childrens discourse: person, space and time across languages
d i a n e b l a k e m o r e : Relevance and linguistic meaning: the semantics and pragmatics of
discourse markers
i a n r ob e r t s and a nna r oussou: Syntactic change: a minimalist approach to
grammaticalization
d o n k a m i n k o v a : Alliteration and sound change in early English
m a r k c . b a k e r : Lexical categories: verbs, nouns and adjectives
ca rlot a s. smi t h: Modes of discourse: the local structure of texts
rochelle lieber: Morphology and lexical semantics
ho lg er di e sse l : The acquisition of complex sentences
s h a r o n i n k e l a s and c h e r y l z o l l : Reduplication: doubling in morphology
s u s a n e d w a r d s: Fluent aphasia
b a r b a r a d a n c y g i e r and eve sweetser : Mental spaces in grammar: conditional
constructions
hew ba erma n, dunst a n b r own, and g r e v il l e g . c o r b e t t : The
syntaxmorphology interface: a study of syncretism
m a r c u s t o m a l i n : Linguistics and the formal sciences: the origins of generative
grammar
s a m u e l d . e p s t e i n and t . d a ni e l se e l y : Derivations in minimalism
p a u l d e l a c y : Markedness: reduction and preservation in phonology
y e h u d a n . f a l k : Subjects and their properties
p . h. mat t he ws: Syntactic relations: a critical survey
m a r k c . b a k e r : The syntax of agreement and concord
g i l l i a n c a t r i o n a r a m c h a n d : Verb meaning and the lexicon: a first phase syntax
p i e t e r m u y s k e n: Functional categories
j u a n u r i a g e r e k a: Syntactic anchors: on semantic structuring
d . r o b e r t l a d d : Intonational phonology, second edition
leonard h. babby : The syntax of argument structure
b. elan d resher: The contrastive hierarchy in phonology
d a v i d a d g e r , d a n i e l h a r b o u r , and laurel j. watkins : Mirrors and
microparameters: phrase structure beyond free word order
niina ning z hang : Coordination in syntax
nei l s mi t h: Acquiring phonology
n i n a t o p i n t z i: Onsets: suprasegmental and prosodic behaviour
c e d r i c b o e c k x , norbert hornstein, and jairo nunes: Control as movement
Earlier issues not listed are also available

CAMBRIDGE STUDIES IN LINGUISTICS


General editors: p. austin, j. bresnan, b. comrie,
s. crain, w. dressler, c. j. ewen, r. lass,
d. lightfoot, k. rice, i. roberts,
s. romaine, n. v. smith

Control as Movement

CONTROL AS MOVEMENT
CEDRIC BOECKX
ICREA/Universitat Aut`onoma de Barcelona

N O R B E RT H O R N S T E I N
University of Maryland, College Park

JA I RO N U N E S
Universidade de Sao Paulo, Brazil

CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY PRESS

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So Paulo, Delhi, Dubai, Tokyo
Cambridge University Press
The Edinburgh Building, Cambridge CB2 8RU, UK
Published in the United States of America by Cambridge University Press, New York
www.cambridge.org
Information on this title: www.cambridge.org/9780521195454
Cedric Boeckx, Norbert Hornstein, and Jairo Nunes 2010
This publication is in copyright. Subject to statutory exception and to the
provision of relevant collective licensing agreements, no reproduction of any part
may take place without the written permission of Cambridge University Press.
First published in print format 2010
ISBN-13

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eBook (NetLibrary)

ISBN-13

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Hardback

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and does not guarantee that any content on such websites is, or will remain,
accurate or appropriate.

Contents

Acknowledgments
1

page x

Introduction

Some historical background

2.1
2.2
2.3
2.4
2.5

Introduction
What any theory of control should account for
Control in the standard-theory framework
Control in GB
Non-movement approaches to control within minimalism
2.5.1 The null-case approach
2.5.2 The Agree approach
Conclusion

5
5
6
9
16
16
20
35

Basic properties of the movement theory of control

36

3.1
3.2

Introduction
Departing from the null hypothesis: historical, architectural, and
empirical reasons
Back to the future: elimination of DS and the revival of the
null hypothesis
Controlled PROs as A-movement traces
3.4.1 Configurational properties
3.4.2 Interpretive properties
3.4.3 Phonetic properties and grammatical status
Conclusion

36

Empirical advantages

59

4.1
4.2
4.3
4.4

Introduction
Morphological invisibility
Interclausal agreement
Finite control
4.4.1 Finite control and hyper-raising

59
59
60
63
70

2.6

3.3
3.4

3.5

37
43
46
47
49
52
56

vii

viii

Contents
4.4.2 Finite control, islands, and intervention effects
4.4.3 Summary
The movement theory of control under the copy theory of movement
4.5.1 Adjunct control and sideward movement
4.5.2 The movement theory of control and morphological
restrictions on copies
4.5.3 Backward control
4.5.4 Phonetic realization of multiple copies and copy control
Conclusion

98
102
115
123

Empirical challenges and solutions

125

5.1
5.2

Introduction
Passives, obligatory control, and Vissers generalization
5.2.1 Relativizing A-movement
5.2.2 Impersonal passives
5.2.3 Finite control vs. hyper-raising
Nominals and control
5.3.1 Finite control into noun-complement clauses in Brazilian
Portuguese
5.3.2 Raising into nominals in Hebrew
5.3.3 The contrast between raising nominals and control nominals
in English
Obligatory control and morphological case
5.4.1 Quirky case and the contrast between raising and control
in Icelandic
5.4.2 Apparent case-marked PROs
The minimal-distance principle, control shift, and the logic
of minimality
5.5.1 Control with promise-type verbs
5.5.2 Control shift
5.5.3 Summary
Partial and split control
5.6.1 Partial control
5.6.2 Split control
Conclusion

125
125
127
132
136
141

169
171
176
181
182
183
190
194

On non-obligatory control

195

6.1
6.2
6.3
6.4
6.5

Introduction
Obligatory vs. non-obligatory control and economy computations
Some problems
A proposal
Conclusion

195
196
202
204
209

4.5

4.6

5.3

5.4

5.5

5.6

5.7

75
79
79
83

142
147
149
152
152
160

Contents

ix

Some notes on semantic approaches to control

210

7.1
7.2
7.3

Introduction
General problems with selectional approaches to obligatory control
Simpler syntax
7.3.1 Some putative problems for the movement theory of control
7.3.2 Challenges for simpler syntax
Conclusion

210
210
216
217
226
237

The movement theory of control and the minimalist


program

238

8.1
8.2
8.3

Introduction
Movement within minimalism and the movement theory of control
The movement theory of control and the minimalist architecture
of UG
Inclusiveness, bare phrase structure, and the movement theory
of control
Conclusion

238
239

References
Index

250
261

7.4

8.4
8.5

241
245
248

Acknowledgments

Previous versions of (part of) the material discussed here have been presented
at the following universities: Connecticut, Harvard, Leiden, Lisbon, Maryland,
New York, Rutgers, Sao Paulo, Stony Brook, Tilburg, and Utrecht; and at the
following meetings: ANPOLL 2003, XVIII Colloquium on Generative Grammar, Edges in Syntax, EVELIN 2004, GLOW XXX, Going Romance 2007,
LSA 2005, Romania Nova II, Ways of Structure Building, and V Workshop on
Formal Linguistics at USP. We would like to thank these audiences for com
ments and suggestions. Special thanks to Zeljko
Boskovic, Hans Broekhuis,
Lisa Cheng, Marcelo Ferreira, Michael Gagnon, Terje Lohndal, Carme Picallo,
and Johan Rooryck.
We would also like to acknowledge the support received from the
Generalitat de Catalunya (grant 2009SGR1079; first author), NSF (grant
NSD.BCS.0722648; second author), and CNPq and FAPESP (grants
302262/20083 and 2006/009652; third author).

1 Introduction

In the following pages we develop an extended argument for a proposal whose


conceptual simplicity and empirical success will, we trust, be evident to all
readers. The proposal says that (obligatory) control is movement, more specifically, A-movement. We propose that the phenomena that have been used
to motivate a special and separate control construction are best explained if
control is treated as an A-movement dependency, on a par with other phenomena that have been traditionally treated in terms of A-movement such as
passive, raising, and (local) scrambling. Put another way, we claim that maintaining the constructional specificity of control (in whatever form, be it in
terms of the PRO theorem [e.g., Chomsky 1981], null case [e.g., Chomsky
and Lasnik 1993; Martin 1996; and Boskovic 1997], or ad hoc anaphoric
tense-agreement dependencies [e.g., Landau 1999, 2000, 2004]) significantly
hampers our understanding of the phenomenon as it leads to explanations that
are roughly as complex as the phenomenon itself.
Despite virtues that we believe are transparent (see e.g., Hornstein 1999,
2001), the movement theory of control (hereafter, MTC) has proven to be quite
controversial.1 We believe that there are several reasons for this. The first one is
historical. Differentiating raising from control in terms of movement has been
a fixed point within generative grammar from the earliest accounts within the
standard theory to current versions of minimalism (see Davies and Dubinsky
2004). Under this long-held view, which became crystallized in GB with the
formulation of the (construction-specific) control module (Chomsky 1981), if
raising involves movement, control cannot. It is thus not surprising that the
MTC has been welcomed with considerable skepticism, as its basic proposal is
exactly to analyze control in terms of (A-)movement. However, such historical
bias should not deter us from a fair evaluation of the conceptual properties and
empirical coverage of the MTC.
1 See e.g., Landau (2000, 2003); Culicover and Jackendoff (2001, 2005); Kiss (2005); and van
Craenenbroeck, Rooryck, and van den Wyngaerd (2005) for a useful sample.

Introduction

The second reason behind the controversy is also related to the long interest
control has enjoyed within the generative tradition. Over the years, control
phenomena have been richly described. Consequently, any new approach will
likely fail, at least initially, to adequately handle some of the relevant data.
Moreover, if the novel approach is conceptually tighter than the more descriptive accounts that it aims to replace (as we believe to be the case with the
MTC), some features of the phenomenon heretofore assumed to be central may
not be accommodated at all. This should occasion no surprise, as it reflects
the well-known tension between description and explanation. Odd as it may
seem, failure to cover a data point may be a mark of progress if those that are
covered follow in a more principled fashion. The virtues of a proposal can be
seriously misevaluated unless one keeps score of both what facts are covered
and how facts are explained. A weak theory can often be easily extended to
accommodate yet another data point, and this is not a virtue. Correspondingly,
a tight theory may miss some facts and this is not necessarily a vice, particularly if the account is comparatively recent and the full implications of its
resources have not yet been fully developed. We believe that many have been
too impressed by these apparent problems without considering how the MTC
might be developed to handle them. In fact, we believe that the MTC actually
faces few empirical difficulties (and none of principle), whereas the current
alternatives both face very serious empirical hurdles (e.g., backward control)
and often empirically succeed by stipulating what should be explained (e.g.,
the distribution of PRO through null case). One aim of what follows is to make
this case in detail.
Finally, it is fair to say that the resistance to MTC is in part due to the
inadequacies and limitations of previous versions of the MTC (including our
own work), which we have tried to overcome here. Addressing the vigorous
critiques of MTC here and in previous work (Hornstein 2003; Boeckx and
Hornstein 2003, 2004, 2006a; Nunes 2007; Boeckx, Hornstein, and Nunes in
press) has allowed us to rectify some errors, clarify the proposal, and sharpen the
arguments. This stimulating intellectual exercise has led us to better appreciate
the consequences of the MTC and has in fact convinced us that it covers even
more empirical ground than we at first thought, as we will argue in the following
chapters.
For all these reasons, we thought that a detailed defense of MTC required
a monograph. But before we launch our defense of MTC, a few notes are in
order.
First, we cannot emphasize enough that MTC does not equate control with
raising. Since the MTC was first proposed, it has been regularly objected

Introduction

that the MTC cannot be right because of features that control has, but raising
does not, and vice versa. However, control is raising only in the descriptive
sense that control is an instance of A-movement, but it is not raising qua
construction. In other words, all the MTC is saying is that, like the derivation of
raising, passive, or local scrambling constructions, the derivation of obligatorycontrol constructions also involves A-movement. The different properties of
constructions involving wh-movement and topicalization, for instance, do not
argue against analyzing them in terms of A-movement. Similarly, we urge
the reader not to dismiss our proposal simply because (unanalyzed) control
raising asymmetries exist. Although raising often proves useful in illustrating
properties of A-movement that carry over to control, it is a ladder that ought to
be kicked away as theory advances. In the chapters that follow, we in fact argue
that controlraising asymmetries generally reduce to independent factors
something we take to be an indication that the MTC is on the right track.
Second, the MTC is actually not a radically new idea. It goes back as far
as Bowers (1973), who already proposed that raising and control should be
basically generated in the same way. However, as the proposal conflicted with
core principles of almost every model of UG from Aspects to GB, it did not find
fertile soil to blossom for a long time. This scenario drastically changed when
the minimalist program came into the picture. Chomskys (1993) proposal that
D-structure should be eliminated provided a very natural conceptual niche for
the MTC within the generative enterprise as it removed the major theoretical
obstacle that prevented movement to -positions. In a system with D-structure,
movement to -positions is a non-issue, for movement can only take place once
-assignment is taken care of. By contrast, in a system without D-structure,
where movement and -assignment intersperse, movement to -positions arises
at least as a logical possibility. Thus, whether or not it is a sound option has
to be determined on the basis of the other architectural features of the system,
as well as its empirical coverage. We hope to show that the MTC fits snugly
with some leading minimalist conceptions and thus constitutes an interesting
argument in its favor.
Third, as minimalism aspires to explain why UG properties are the way
they are, we are interested in developing a theory of control that deduces
the properties of control configurations from more basic postulates, rather
than merely listing the possible controllers, controllees, control predicates, and
control complements coded as features of individual lexical items.
Finally, although our specific implementation of MTC is the one that has
been extended to the broadest range of data thus far, it is certainly not the only
one possible. ONeil (1995), Manzini and Roussou (2000), Kayne (2002), and

Introduction

Bowers (2006) share the spirit but not the details of our analysis. For reasons
of space, we will not be able to do proper justice to these works and the reader
is invited to evaluate each different implementation in its own right.
Let us close this introductory chapter by providing an overview of the subsequent chapters. Chapter 2 offers a brief overview of how control is handled
in the standard-theory framework, in GB, and in non-movement approaches
within minimalism. Chapter 3 lays out the broad features of our version of the
MTC. Chapter 4 discusses some of the empirical advantages that the MTC has.
Chapter 5 addresses many of the empirical challenges that have been considered to be fatal to the MTC and proposes solutions compatible with the MTC.
Chapter 6 presents our take on how non-obligatory control is to be analyzed.
Chapter 7 discusses the extent to which the MTC is based on more solid conceptual and empirical grounds than semantic/selectional approaches to obligatory
control. Finally, Chapter 8 concludes the monograph.

2 Some historical background

2.1

Introduction

Up to very recently, there had been a more or less uncontroversial view that
control phenomena should be analyzed in terms of special grammatical primitives (e.g., PRO) and construction-specific interpretive systems (e.g., the control
module). In this chapter, we examine how this conception of control was instantiated in the standard-theory framework (section 2.3), in GB (section 2.4), and
in non-movement analyses within the minimalist program (section 2.5), briefly
outlining what we take to be the virtues and problems of each approach.1 This
discussion will provide the general background for us to discuss the core properties of (our version of) the MTC in Chapter 3 and evaluate its adequacy in
the face of the general desiderata for grammatical downsizing explored in the
minimalist program.

2.2

What any theory of control should account for

A theoretically sound approach to control one that goes beyond the mere
listing of the properties involved in control must meet (at least) the following
four requirements.
First, it must specify the kinds of control structures that are made available
by UG and explain how and why they differ. Assuming, for instance, that
obligatory control (OC) and non-obligatory control (NOC) are different, their
differences should be reduced to more basic properties of the system.
Second, it must correctly describe the configurational properties of control,
accounting for the positions that the controller and the controllee can occupy.
In addition, it should provide an account as to why the controller and the
controllee are so configured. Assuming, for instance, that the controllee can
1 For much more detailed discussion, we urge the reader to consult Davies and Dubinskys (2004)
excellent history of generative treatments of raising and control.

Some historical background

only appear in a subset of possible positions (e.g., ungoverned subjects), why


are controllees so restricted?
Third, it must account for the interpretation of the controllee, explaining
how the antecedent of the controllee is determined and specifying what kind of
anaphoric relation obtains between the controllee and its antecedent (in both
OC and NOC constructions) and why these relations obtain and not others.
For instance, assuming that controllers must locally bind controllees in OC
constructions, why is the control relation so restricted in these cases?
Fourth, it must specify the nature of the controllee: what is its place among
the inventory of null expressions provided by UG? Is it a formative special to
control constructions or is it something that is independently attested?
In the next sections, we briefly review how these concerns have been
addressed from the standard-theory model to the minimalist program.
2.3

Control in the standard-theory framework

Within the framework of the standard theory, control phenomena were coded
in the obligatory transformation referred to as equi(valent) NP deletion (END),
which for our current purposes can be described as follows:2
(1)

X-NP-Y-[S {for/poss}-NP-Z]-W
Structural description: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Structural change:
1 2 3 4 6 7
Conditions: i. 2 = 5
ii. the minimal-distance principle is satisfied

Irrelevant details aside, END applies to the (a)-structures in (2)(5), for instance,
and converts them in the corresponding (b)-sentences.
(2) a.
b.

John tried/wanted/hoped [for John to leave early]


John tried/wanted/hoped to leave early

(3) a.
b.

John regrets/insisted on/prefers [poss John leaving early]


John regrets/insisted on/prefers leaving early

(4) a.

John persuaded/ordered/forced/asked/told Mary [for Mary to leave


early]
John persuaded/ordered/forced/asked/told Mary to leave early

b.
(5) a.
b.

John kissed Mary before/after/without [poss John asking if he could]


John kissed Mary before/after/without asking if he could

2 Here we abstract away from issues that are orthogonal to our discussion such as the interaction
between END and the rule of complementizer deletion, which has the effect of deleting the term
numbered 4 in (1). See Rosenbaum (1967, 1970) for discussion.

2.3 Control in the standard-theory framework

According to this approach, there is nothing of special interest in the nature


of the controllee. It is a regular NP in the underlying structure and the fact
that the corresponding surface position is phonetically null follows from the
kind of transformation END is. It is a deletion transformation that removes
the targeted NP, leaving nothing at surface structure. To put it differently, the
superficial phonetic difference between controller and controllee results not
from intrinsic lexical properties of the controllee, but from properties of the
computation itself, i.e., that END is a deletion operation.
As far as the configurational properties of control are concerned, END explicitly specifies that the controllee (the target of deletion) must occur in the subject
position of infinitival clauses (for-clauses) and gerunds (poss-clauses), and that
the controller must be the closest NP (in compliance with the minimal-distance
principle). Thus, according to the minimal-distance principle, sentences such
as (4b) must be derived from the structures in (4a) and not from the one in
(6) below, which would incorrectly allow the understood subject of the embedded clause to be interpreted as being coreferential with the matrix subject. As
opposed to what we find in (4a), the antecedent of the controllee in (6) is not
the closest NP around. As for adjunct control in sentences such as (5), the
minimal-distance principle is satisfied under the assumption that the embedded
clause is adjoined to the matrix clause and, as such, it is structurally closer to
the subject than it is to the object.3
(6)

John persuaded/ordered/forced/asked/told Mary [for John to leave early]

Finally, the interpretation properties of control are enforced by condition


(i), which requires that controller and controllee be identical, which was
understood in terms of coreference.
This general approach was refined within the standard theory as more complex control structures were considered, but its axiomatic (i.e., stipulative)
nature remained. The configurational and interpretive properties of control
were analyzed as irreducible features of the END transformation itself. This
by no means diminishes the value of these earlier approaches to control. Identifying the different properties of control phenomena with such formal rigor
3 END as stated is not entirely adequate empirically. Given (1) above, the structure in (ia), for
example, should allow for control by Mary in (ib):
(i) a.
b.

John persuaded a friend of Mary [for Mary to leave]


John persuaded a friend of Mary to leave

It should be clear how requiring that some sort of command relation hold between the antecedent
NP and the deleted one will help screen out cases like (i), where the wrong NP is chosen.

Some historical background

was unquestionably an achievement, with large consequences for theorizing


beyond control structures, and it paved the way for subsequent reanalyses in
GB and in the minimalist program.
Before we leave this brief review, two points are worth mentioning which will
be relevant to the discussion of these later reanalyses, including the MTC. The
first one regards an empirical problem that the standard-theory approach faced
in relation to the way it handled the interpretive properties of control. As we saw
above, the controller and the controllee were taken to be lexically identical and
the semantic relation between them was understood as coreference. Problems
arise when the controller is not a referential NP, as exemplified by the contrast
between (7) and (8).

(7) a.
b.

[John wants [John to win]]


John wants to win

(8) a.
b.

[Everyone wants [everyone to win]]


Everyone wants to win

Whereas (7a) might be taken to roughly represent the meaning of (7b),


(8a) in no way represents the interpretation of (8b), which should rather be
paraphrased as Everyone wants himself to win. This suggests that, instead of
an NP identical to (i.e., coreferential with) its controller in underlying structure,
what we actually need is a kind of bound anaphor or an expression that can
be so interpreted.4 The obvious question then is how to obtain this bound
interpretation.
The second point worth mentioning concerns the identification of another
type of control. Relatively early on, END was distinguished from a related
operation dubbed super-equi (SEND). This operation also deletes a subject
of a non-finite clause but, in contrast to END, it operates across unbounded
stretches of sentential material, as illustrated in (9).5

4 If there is an anaphoric relation in control structures, then END is unlikely to be a chopping


(gap-leaving) rule. Rather, it is more like the rules of reflexivization or pronominalization,
which were operations governed by command relations. The problem is that control structures
do not appear to leave lexical residues like the other construal operations. They appear to require
a phonetic gap. Seen from a contemporary perspective, the problem of how to characterize the
rules that lead to control structures (are they chopping rules or construal rules?) highlights
the tension that we will see constantly recurring: how best to account for both the distribution of
the controllee and its interpretation.
5 See Grinder (1970). Data such as (9) are not the sorts of cases Grinder discussed, but they fall
under the SEND rubric.

2.4 Control in GB
(9) a.
b.

[S1 John said [S2 that Mary believes [S3 that [S4 John washing himself]
would make a good impression on possible employers]]]

John said that Mary believes that washing himself would make a good
impression on possible employers

Note that (9) violates the minimal-distance principle, as Mary intervenes


between the target of deletion (John in S4 ) and its antecedent (John in S1 ).
Moreover, in contrast to standard END configurations, the controllee is not
within a clausal complement (or adjunct) of a higher predicate. In (9), for
instance, the controllee is within the sentential subject of S3 . The following
question then arises: what is the relation between END and SEND? Or to put
the question somewhat differently: why should UG have two rules that have the
same effect (deletion of an identical NP), but apply to different configurations?6
In the next sections we examine some answers to these two issues that were
offered within GB and the minimalist program.
2.4

Control in GB

Building on earlier work in the extended standard theory (EST), the GB


approach to control is considerably more ambitious and empirically more successful than the standard-theory model.
Within GB, the controllee is a PRO, a base-generated NP containing no
lexical material ([NP ]). This conception of the controllee as a base-generated
non-lexical formative arises as a natural consequence of the GB assumptions
regarding the base component. The GB theory of the base includes both phrasestructure rules, like the ones in (10), and lexical-insertion operations, like the
ones in (11).
(10) a.
b.
c.

S NP INFL VP
VP V NP
NP N

(11) a.
b.
c.

N John/he/it/Bill
V kiss/see/admire
INFL past/to

These two types of rules operate in tandem to generate structures such as (12)
below. However, they can also be used to generate structures like (13), where
the subject of the clause has been generated by the phrase-structure component
6 Grinder (1970) actually collapsed END and SEND. However, later approaches identified many
substantial differences between the constructions underlying END and SEND that are better
captured if two kinds of control are recognized, as we shall see below.

10

Some historical background

but has not been filled by lexical insertion. In short, a theory of the base factored
into a set of phrase-structure rules and lexical-insertion operations has room for
an element like PRO: it is what one gets when one generates an NP structure
but does not subject it to lexical insertion.
(12)

[S [NP John] past [VP see [NP Bill]]]

(13)

[S [NP ] to [VP see [NP Bill]]]

This way of understanding PRO has an interesting consequence for the


constructions that were captured by END in the standard theory. If one assumes
that categories without lexical content are uninterpretable unless provided with
content (by being linked with an antecedent, for example) and, furthermore,
that the principle of full interpretation does not tolerate contentless structures,
then the requirement that PRO must have an antecedent follows naturally.7
We wish to stress this point as it is important for some of the discussion that
follows. If one treats PRO as a lexical element, it is hard to explain why PRO
must be phonetically null and why it requires an antecedent. Of course, it is
possible to stipulate that these two features are inherent properties of a specific
lexical item (PRO), but this cannot explain why PRO is necessarily anaphoric
and null. Moreover, so conceived, PRO is a rather unusual lexical element as it
has no positive properties. It has no phonetic matrix and its only semantic feature
is the requirement that it must be coindexed with a grammatical antecedent.8
This point is worth emphasizing. PRO, on this view, is not simply a semantically
dependent expression that needs to be interpreted with respect to some salient
element in the discourse (e.g., like the other in John ate one of the bagels.
Harry ate the other.). Rather, PRO is specified as needing an antecedent in a
particular structural configuration. However, this is a very odd lexical feature as
it is only definable in configurational (i.e., grammatical) terms. In other words,
invoking such features in the construction of lexical items (be it PRO or any
other item) is just a way of simulating a grammatical requirement via lexical
stipulation.9
The GB approach offers a sounder alternative as it treats PROs properties as
the result of interacting grammatical principles. This feature of the GB analysis
7 See Chomsky (1980: 8): If Coindex does not apply and the embedded clause contains PRO,
then we end up with a free variable in LF; an improper representation, not a sentence but an
open sentence.
8 This point is similar to Chomskys (1995) argument against considering Agr as a lexical category.
Given that its only features are uninterpretable, a preferable approach, all things being equal, is
to take these features as belonging to related true lexical categories.
9 For a discussion of reflexives and bound pronouns in light of this discussion, see Hornstein
(2001, 2007).

2.4 Control in GB

11

of control is clearly a desirable one for any theory to have. Any adequate
theory of control should eschew lexically stipulating PROs basic properties
and specify how grammatical principles interact so that the desired properties
of PRO emerge. We consider some possibilities below (see also Chapter 3).
Being a grammatical, non-lexical formative specified as [NP ], PRO is in
fact quite similar to NP-traces (standard traces of A-movement) in GB.10 What
distinguishes them is neither their internal structures nor their interpretation,
but how they are introduced in the derivation and how they get their indices.11
PRO is inserted at D-structure, but is only coindexed later in the derivation.
In contrast, NP-traces receive their indices as they are created in a movement
operation (they must be coindexed with the NP that moves). However, after
PROs get their indices (at S-structure or LF), they become completely indistinguishable from NP-traces. Notice that, once we take PRO and NP-traces to be
indistinguishable at some point(s) in the derivation, we are already very close
to the MTC. We return to this point in Chapters 3 and 4.
The GB account of the distribution of PRO is similarly ambitious. Rather
than simply stipulate that it appears in the subject position of non-finite clauses,
GB strove to derive this fact from the binding theory. The proposal, known as
the PRO theorem, went as follows (see Chomsky 1981). PRO was taken to
be a pronominal anaphor and, as such, subject to both principles A and B.12
Principle A states that an anaphor must be bound in its domain; principle B
that a pronoun must be free in its domain. Under the assumption that these
principles apply within the same domain, they end up imposing contradictory
requirements on a pronominal anaphor, namely, that it should be both free
and bound in the same domain. The only way for such an expression to meet
both requirements is for it to vacuously satisfy them, i.e., by not meeting the
necessary conditions for these requirements to be enforced. Thus, PRO cannot
have a binding domain. Given that the binding domain for an expression was
defined (in one of its formulations) as the smallest clause within which it is
governed, then PRO does not have a binding domain if it is ungoverned (if it has
no governor, for instance). Finally, if one takes an Infl head to be a governor if

10 See Chomsky (1977: 82): We may take PRO to be just a base-generated t(x) [trace of x], x a
variable; i.e., as a base generated NPx , an NP without an index.
11 See Chomsky (1977: 82): trace and PRO are the same element; they differ only in the way the
index is assigned as a residue of a movement rule in one case, and by a rule of control in the
other . . . Note also that PRO is a non-terminal.
12 Saying that PRO was a pronominal anaphor does not imply in the context of GB that it was a
lexical formative. Traces, for instance, were treated as anaphors (Chomsky 1981) despite their
clearly being non-lexical.

12

Some historical background

it is finite but not if it is non-finite (to and ing), one then derives the distribution
of PRO: it can only appear in the subject position of non-finite clauses.
A side benefit of this reasoning is that it provides an account of why PRO
must be phonetically null. Within GB, case theory requires that nominals with
phonetic content bear case and case is taken to be assigned under government. If
PRO only appears in ungoverned positions, it cannot be case marked. Therefore,
PRO cannot have phonetic content, for otherwise the case filter would be
violated. Once again, this makes PRO very similar to NP-traces. These too
occur in caseless positions and, not surprisingly, are phonetically null.
Notice also that, by taking PRO to be a non-lexical formative, the problem
posed by quantified expressions in the standard-theory framework dissolves. A
sentence like (8b), for instance, repeated below in (14a), will be associated with
a structure along the lines of (14b), where PRO does not have quantification
properties on its own, but is rather interpreted as a bound variable, as desired.
(14) a.
b.

Everyone wants to win


[Everyone wants [PRO to win]]

At first sight, taking PRO to be a pronominal anaphor also seems to have


other welcome consequences as far as its interpretation is concerned. One
indeed finds examples of its anaphoric behavior, as illustrated in (15), as well
as examples of its pronominal behavior, as illustrated in (16).13
(15) a.
b.
c.
d.

It was expected PRO to shave himself


John1 thinks that it was expected PRO1 to shave himself

John1 s campaign expects PRO1 to shave himself


John1 expects PRO1 to win and Bill2 does too (and Bill expects himself to
win, not and Bill expects John to win)
e. [The unfortunate]1 expects PRO1 to get a medal
f. [Only Churchill]1 remembers PRO1 giving the Blood, Sweat, and Tears
speech

(16) a.
b.
c.
d.
e.
f.

It is illegal PRO to park here


John1 thinks that Mary said that PRO1 shaving himself is vital
John1 s friends believe that PRO1 keeping himself under control is vital if
he is to succeed
John1 thinks that PRO1 getting his resume in order is crucial and Bill does
too (Bill2 thinks that his1/2 getting his resume in order is crucial)
[The unfortunate]1 believes that PRO1 getting a medal is unlikely
Only Churchill remembers that PRO giving the BST speech was
momentous

13 On the properties illustrated in (15) and (16) as well as further data and discussion, see e.g.,
Fodor (1975), Williams (1980), Lebeaux (1985), and Higginbotham (1992).

2.4 Control in GB

13

In (15), PRO roughly behaves like a reflexive. In configurational terms,


it requires an antecedent (cf. [15a]) which must be local (cf. [15b]) and ccommand it (cf. [15c]). On the interpretation side, it only supports a sloppy
interpretation under VP ellipsis (cf. [15d]), a de se reading in sentences such
as (15e) (i.e., it is only felicitous if the unfortunate is conscious of who he is
and expects himself to get a medal), and a bound reading when its antecedent
is associated with only (that is, [15f] can be paraphrased as Only Churchill
is such that he remembers himself giving the BST speech and not as Only
Churchill remembers that Churchill gave the BST speech). By contrast, in
(16) PRO behaves like a pronoun in every respect. Hence, it does not require
an antecedent (cf. [16a]) and, where there is an antecedent, the antecedent
need not be local (cf. [16b]) or c-command it (cf. [16c]). In addition, (16d)
allows both strict and sloppy readings, (16e) permits both de se and non-de se
interpretations, and (16f) may be falsified by situations in which people other
than Churchill recall the import of the BST speech.
Despite appearances, the data in (15) and (16) actually turn out to be quite
problematic for the specification of PRO as a pronominal anaphor within GB.
Notice that PRO displays either properties of reflexives or properties of pronouns. But in no case does it display properties of both pronouns and reflexives.
Not by coincidence were data such as (15) and (16) handled by two different
transformations (END and SEND, respectively) within the standard theory.
Thus, it makes more sense to assume that PRO is ambiguous between a reflexive and a pronoun, than to assume it is a pronominal anaphor. However, this
ambiguity thesis completely undermines the PRO theorem, as the theorem crucially assumes the existence of an element that is simultaneously a pronoun
and an anaphor. In turn, if the PRO theorem falls, we are left with no account
of the distribution of PRO.
The requirements of the PRO theorem have one further architectural consequence: in order to explain the distributional properties of PRO in terms of
the PRO theorem, some other component of the grammar must be responsible
for PROs specific interpretation in a given configuration. This accounts for
the addition of the control module in the GB framework. The control module
recognizes two types of control: obligatory control (OC), illustrated in (15),
and non-obligatory control (NOC), illustrated in (16). In the case of OC, the
controller is lexically specified as an argument of the embedding control verb
and, in the case of non-local control, other (rarely specified but frequently
adverted to) principles come into play.
Notice that this amounts to saying that, like in the earlier treatment in terms of
END and SEND, OC and NOC are rather distinct types of relations. Importantly,
it is tacitly assumed that the control module somehow obliterates the pronominal

14

Some historical background

specification of PRO in OC constructions, and, conversely, its anaphoric specification in NOC constructions. The problem is not so much that the details of
how this would be achieved are never spelled out, but that this tacit assumption
casts suspicion over the initial specification of PRO as a pronominal anaphor.
Why should UG provide PRO with such a specification only to see it blotted
out later? After all, this does not happen with standard pronouns and anaphors:
they must live with the pronominal or anaphoric specifications stated in their
birth certificate.
One could reply that we should learn to live with the PRO module given
the nice results we obtain with the PRO theorem concerning the distribution of
PRO. However, this apparent success does not survive closer scrutiny either.
The first thing to be noted is that the PRO-theorem account of the distributional
properties of PRO is intrinsically associated with a specific formulation of
binding domains, one in which government is essentially the one and only
requirement to be satisfied. Recall that all that matters for PRO to vacuously
satisfy both principles A and B is that it does not have a binding domain.
To lack a governor is certainly one way for PRO to be deprived of a binding
domain. But, if the correct definition of binding domain ends up including other
requirements, there may be other ways for PRO to lack a domain. Take, for
instance, the definition in (17) (see Chomsky 1981).
(17)

is a binding domain for iff is the minimal NP or S containing , in


which is governed and has a subject accessible to .

This is not the place to review the various reasons for including the notion of
accessible subject in the definition of binding domain within GB.14 The relevant
point for our discussion is that, once accessible subjects become part of the
definition of binding domains, PRO may also lack a domain if it does not have
an accessible subject. This in turn undermines the account of the distribution of
PRO in terms of the PRO theorem, as government is no longer the only player
on the field.15 To put it broadly, if binding domains are to be formulated along
the lines of (17), the account of the distribution of PRO exclusively in terms of
government involves an independent axiom, rather than a theorem.
But the problem is actually worse than these remarks suggest. Recall that a
crucial assumption in the PRO-theorem account is that a finite Infl is a governor,
but a non-finite Infl is not. From an empirical point of view, this assumption
14 See Lasnik and Uriagereka (1988) for a good discussion of the notion of accessible subject and
the motivations for its inclusion in the definition of binding domain.
15 See Bouchard (1984) for discussion.

2.4 Control in GB

15

is challenged by languages like Brazilian Portuguese, which allow obligatory


control into indicative clauses, as we will see in detail in sections 2.5.2.2 and
4.4 below. In order to make room for finite control in such languages, the PROtheorem account would be forced to assume that their finite Infls are optional
governors. However, it is not at all obvious how this assumption can be formally
encoded in the system. Given that government is a structural relation, being a
governor cannot be listed as a lexical property for the reasons discussed above.
Such a lexical specification would be comparable to saying, for instance, that a
given lexical item is lexically specified as being unable to c-command.16 This
just does not make sense. What is required is a structural reason for preventing
a non-finite Infl from governing its Spec. But, regardless of the definition of
government one assumes, if a finite Infl can govern its Spec, so should a nonfinite Infl, as the two structural configurations are identical. Again, to assume
the opposite would be parallel to saying that, although the configurational Spechead relation is exactly the same in both cases, a finite Infl head m-commands
its Spec, but a non-finite Infl does not. In short, when details are considered,
the distributional properties of PRO do not follow theorematically and it is not
even obvious how to convert the PRO theorem into an axiom, as it is unnatural
to encode structural properties as lexical features or formulate different notions
of government for different lexical items.
Even the apparent benefit of the account of PROs lack of case has an undesirable consequence. An A-chain in GB must be headed by a case-marked position
unless it is headed by PRO.17 This statement is transparently troublesome. If Achains are independently subject to a case-licensing requirement (say, Aouns
[1979] visibility condition, which requires that -roles be associated with case
in order to be visible at LF), why should A-chains headed by PRO be exempted
from such a requirement? Notice in particular that, given that chains headed
by pro and null operators also required case licensing, PROs lack of phonetic
content could not be the reason for this exception.
To sum up: despite its laudable ambitions and its improvement over the
standard-theory approach to control, the GB approach has significant empirical
and theoretical problems. On the plus side, treating PRO as a grammatical
formative circumvents the previous problem related to control involving quantified expressions, and accounts for why PRO is phonetically null and why (at
least in the case of OC) it needs a grammatical antecedent. On the down side,
the account of the distribution of PRO turns out on closer consideration to be
16 See Hornstein, Nunes, and Grohmann (2005) for a discussion of this point.
17 See Chomsky (1981: 334ff.) for discussion.

16

Some historical background

less a theorem than an axiomatic stipulation. Moreover, the assumption that


PRO is a pronominal anaphor leads to empirical problems as the system cannot
predict when PRO behaves like an anaphor and when it behaves like a pronoun.
A separate control module must then be added to the theory to specify the
interpretive properties of PRO. Moreover, the construction-specific flavor of
this new addition to the model is at odds with the general goal of the principlesand-parameters theory of deducing properties of rules and constructions from
the interaction of more basic features. It is no wonder that the control module
always felt like an appendix to the model and never occupied a bright spot
among GBs theoretical achievements. The GB take on control was therefore
ripe for a minimalist reanalysis.

2.5

Non-movement approaches to control within minimalism

2.5.1
The null-case approach
Given that the addition of the construction-specific control module in GB was
prompted by the problematic assumption that PRO is a pronominal anaphor,
one would in principle expect that the abandonment of this assumption should
also lead to the abandonment of the control module. However, history and logic
are known to frequently go their separate ways. The first minimalist reanalysis
of control, outlined in Chomsky and Lasnik (1993), gave up on the account
of PRO in terms of its alleged pronominal-anaphoric nature, but basically left
intact the assumption that the interpretation of PRO required a special module
in the system. Let us consider how the distributional properties of PRO are
handled on this account.
Take the contrast between (18a) and (18b), for instance.
(18) a.
b.

John hoped [PRO1 to be elected t1 ]


John hoped [PRO1 to appear to t1 [that Bill was innocent]]

From the perspective of GB, PRO cannot occupy a governed position as it


would then meet the requirements for binding theory to apply and would end
up violating principle A or principle B. Hence, PRO cannot remain in the
object position of the embedded verb in (18a) or the preposition to in (18b).
However, once it moves to the subject position of the infinitival clause, which,
by assumption, is ungoverned, it should circumvent the binding violation in
both (18a) and (18b). The ungrammaticality of (18b) is therefore unaccounted
for within GB. Notice that the contrast in (18) mimics the contrast in the ECM
constructions in (19), which can be straightforwardly captured if one assumes

2.5 Non-movement approaches to control

17

that a given expression cannot move from a case-marked position to another


case-marked position.
(19) a.
b.

We expected [John1 to be hired t1 ]


We never expected [John1 to appear to t1 [that the job was easy]]

Based on the parallelism between pairs like (18) and (19), Chomsky and
Lasnik (1993) propose a case-based account of the distributional properties of
PRO under which A-chains headed by PRO are not exceptional as far as case
licensing is concerned, as they were in GB (see section 2.4).18 The gist of their
proposal is that PRO must be licensed by a special kind of case, dubbed null
case, which is checked by some non-finite Infl heads. Under the assumption
that the infinitival to in (18) checks null case, movement of PRO is licit in
(18a) as it proceeds from a caseless (passives generally do not check case)
to a case-checking position, but not in (18b), where it proceeds from a casechecking to another case-checking position. This proposal also extends to the
standard cases regarding the distribution of PRO. Thus, under this view, PRO
cannot appear in the subject position of finite clauses or in the object position
of a transitive verb, as respectively illustrated in (20), because these are not
positions in which null case is checked.

(20) a.
b.

John hoped (that) PRO could eat a bagel


Bill saw PRO

Notice that some extra assumption must be made in order to capture the
standard contrast between (21) and (22) below, for instance. In other words,
the null-case approach must somehow ensure that the infinitival to of control
constructions can license PRO, but not the infinitival to of ECM or raising
constructions. The obvious question is how to independently distinguish the
to that can check null case in (21) from its siblings in (22), which cannot. One
thing is certain. One cannot simply say that these heads are lexically ambiguous
in terms of their specification for case checking; otherwise, structures corresponding to (22) should be grammatical with the case-checking version of to.
(21)
(22) a.
b.

John hopes [PRO to graduate soon]

I believe [PRO to be nice]


It seems [PRO to be nice]

18 The idea of accounting for the distribution of PRO in terms of case finds its origins in Bouchards
(1984) proposal that PRO cannot appear in a case-marked position.

18

Some historical background

Martin (1996, 2001) is the most fully worked out version of the null-case
approach to the distribution of PRO, which attempts to couch the distinction
between (21) and (22) on more solid grounds. Building on Stowells (1982)
proposal that control infinitives are tensed whereas ECM and raising infinitivals
are tenseless, Martin proposes that only tensed infinitivals check null case.19
Tying null case to tense has the virtue of rendering it more natural and less
stipulative. Under this perspective, null case would be very similar to nominative case, as both would be checked by a tensed Infl, differing only in terms
of their morphological realization. Unfortunately, the proposed independent
diagnostics for distinguishing tensed from tenseless infinitivals fail to yield
the expected divide between control predicates, on the one hand, and ECM
and raising predicates, on the other, as convincingly shown by Wurmbrand
(2005).20
Take the contrasts between the infinitival complements of the control verb
decide and the ECM verb believe in (23)(26) (from Wurmbrand 2005), for
example.
(23) a.
b.

(24) a.
b.
(25) a.
b.
(26) a.
b.

At 6, Leo decided to sing in the shower right then


At 6, Leo believed Bill to sing in the shower right then
Leo decided yesterday to leave tomorrow
John believes/believed Mary to be pregnant

Leo decided [[to leave] [which was/is true]]


Leo believes [[John to be smart] [which is true]]
Leo doesnt want John to sing in the shower, but he decided to, anyway
Leo believes John to be honest and she believes Frank to, as well

The contrasts above are supposed to show that the control infinitival is tensed
as it is compatible with eventive predicates (cf. [23a]), triggers a future reading
(cf. [24a]), requires an irrealis interpretation (that is, the truth of the complement
is left unspecified at the time of the utterance; cf. [25a]), and licenses VP
ellipsis (cf. [26a]). Conversely, the ECM/raising infinitival clauses are taken
to be tenseless as they are incompatible with eventive predicates (cf. [23b]),
require a simultaneous interpretation with respect to the embedding clause
(cf. [24b]),21 allow a realis interpretation (cf. [25b]), and do not license VP
ellipsis (cf. [26b]).
19 See also Boskovic (1997) for relevant discussion.
20 For further discussion and arguments against null case and its ties to tense, see also Landau
(2000), Pires (2001, 2006), Baltin and Barrett (2002), and Hornstein (2003).
21 See Hornstein (1990) for a discussion of this interpretation in the context of sequence-of-tense
constructions.

2.5 Non-movement approaches to control

19

The above paradigm does indeed distinguish decide, a control verb, from
believe, an ECM verb. The problem, as Wurmbrand (2005) shows, is that the
criteria do not generalize to other control and ECM/raising cases. For instance,
the control verb claim does not license eventive predicates (cf. [27a] below)
and allows a realis interpretation for its complement (cf. [27b]), whereas the
control verb manage does not trigger a future reading (cf. [27c]). In turn,
the infinitival complement of the ECM verb expect is compatible with an
eventive predicate (cf. [28a]), does not permit a realis interpretation (cf. [28b]),
and allows a non-simultaneous interpretation (cf. [28c]).
(27) a.
b.
c.
(28) a.
b.
c.

At 6, Leo claimed to sing in the shower right then


Leo claimed [[to be a king], which was true]

John managed to bring his toys tomorrow

The bridge is expected to collapse tomorrow


The train is expected [[to arrive late tomorrow] [which is true]]
The printer is expected to work again tomorrow

Wurmbrand (2005) also reviews the VP ellipsis data and observes that the
data that purport to demonstrate a distinction between control (where it is
allowed) and raising (where it is prohibited) are subject to substantial speaker
variation (when the contrast exists at all). Besides, the clear acceptability of
raising examples such as the ones in (29) indicates that the licensing of VP
ellipsis fails to cleanly distinguish control from raising.
(29) a.
b.
c.

The tower started to fall down and the church began to as well
John expects the printer to break down whereas Peter expects the copier to
They say that Mary doesnt know French but she seems to

The above arguments, which decouple tense properties from control infinitivals, are seconded by the observation that PRO may also occur in gerundive
subject positions, despite the fact that gerunds are generally analyzed as not
tensed (see Stowell 1982; Pires 2001, 2006). This is illustrated in (30) below,
where the gerund licenses PRO but not the temporal adverb.
(30) a.
b.

John hated [PRO eating turnips ( tomorrow)]


John preferred [PRO eating turnips ( tomorrow)]

The overall conclusion one reaches is that, whatever tense properties nonfinite clauses have, they do not seem to be useful for distinguishing raising from
control configurations. There are surely differences between raising and control
complements, but this varies across verbs and there is no apparent systematic
way to distinguish the two classes using the tense diagnostics mentioned

20

Some historical background

above. Thus, although conceptually appealing, the attempt to analyze null case
as similar to nominative by associating it to a form of tense ends up failing.
This is really bad news. Once the distribution of PRO cannot be reduced to
a [tense] feature of T, null case finds no independent motivation within the
system and follows from nothing but the attested distribution of PRO. And the
picture is not very glamorous. In order to work, the null-case approach requires
three stipulations: (i) PRO has no phonetic content; (ii) null case must be
assigned to PRO; and (iii) only PRO can bear null case. These three stipulations
track but do not explain the facts under discussion. In other words, despite its
explanatory aspirations, it seems fair to say that the null-case approach amounts
to stipulating that PRO appears where it does and that it has the phonetic
properties it has.
What of PROs interpretive properties? Here there is some good news. With
the PRO theorem abandoned, PRO can be treated as ambiguous, a null reflexive
in some contexts (OC cases) and a null pronoun in others (NOC cases). It is
then possible to reduce the interpretive properties of PRO to the interpretive
properties of pronouns and reflexives. For example, that OC PRO requires a
local, c-commanding antecedent follows from its being subject to principle A
of the binding theory (or whatever substitutes for principle A). The fact that
NOC PRO does not need an antecedent follows its being pronominal.
Given such a reduction, what remains to be determined is why OC and NOC
PROs distribute as they do, i.e., why reflexive PRO appears in OC contexts
and pronominal PRO in NOC contexts. One can, of course, stipulate that
certain predicates select for OC and so for reflexive-like PROs, while others do
not. However, it is not clear how this is to be implemented grammatically (see
Chapters 6 and 7 below). First, it is not clear how selection of embedded subjects
by matrix verbs (so-called control predicates) is to be stated. If selection is a
head-to-head relation, then OC is not an obvious case of selection. Second,
adjunct control seems to pattern like OC and, on the standard assumption that
predicates can select complements but not adjuncts, then adjunct control is
expected to be NOC, contrary to fact. These are issues that we revisit in later
chapters. What is worth noting here is that simply reducing OC to something
like principle A and NOC to something like principle B does not by itself suffice
to account for the interpretive properties of OC and NOC configurations.
2.5.2
The Agree approach
Let us now consider Landaus (1999, 2000, 2004) alternative approach to control. Like the null-case approach reviewed in the previous section, Landau
takes the existence of PRO for granted but, unlike proponents of the null-case

2.5 Non-movement approaches to control

21

approach, he takes PRO to bear regular case like any other DP. In addition to
this take on case, three other aspects of Landaus approach stand out: (i) the
special attention given to partial-control constructions; (ii) the dependence
of obligatory control on the postulation of certain features and feature specifications; (iii) the interpretation of PRO mediated by (a version of) Chomskys
(2000, 2001) Agree operation.
Let us examine each of these major aspects of Landaus system, leaving the
discussion of whether or not PRO bears regular case to section 5.4.2 below.22
2.5.2.1 The relevance of partial control
Partial control refers to control constructions where an embedded predicate
must take a (semantically) plural subject, but the antecedent of the controllee
is (semantically) singular, as illustrated in (31).
(31)

The chair hoped [PRO to gather/meet at 6/to apply together for the grant]

In (31), the matrix subject is understood as a member of the set of people denoted by the embedded subject. Assuming that this interpretive fact
shows that controller and controllee are not identical, Landau takes partialcontrol constructions to be a strong argument for a PRO-based account of
control. According to him, the mismatch in interpretation between PRO and
its antecedent results from PRO being independently specified for the semantic
feature mereology, which characterizes group names (for instance, committee
is [+Mer], while chair is [Mer]), as illustrated in (32).
(32)

The chair[Mer] hoped [PRO[+Mer] to gather/meet at 6/to apply together for


the grant]

It is a great merit of Landaus work to have shown that partial control is indeed
an instance of obligatory control (the controllee requires a local c-commanding
antecedent, triggers sloppy readings under ellipsis, and enforces de se readings,
for instance), and to have provided a very detailed description of the types of
predicates that allow partial control. Landau argues that a tensed infinitive such
as the complement of desiderative verbs licenses it, but an untensed infinitive
such as the complement of implicative verbs does not, as illustrated by the
contrast between (31) and (33) (see section 2.5.2.2 below for details).
22 Here we will primarily focus on Landau (2004)s analysis of obligatory control, which he takes
to replace his older treatment (Landau 1999, 2000). For discussion of the limitations of his
previous treatment, see Hornstein (2003) and Landau (2007) for a rejoinder.

22

Some historical background

(33)

The chair managed [PRO to gather/meet at 6/to apply together for the grant]

It is fair to say that, after Landaus work, partial control came to be part
of the empirical basis that any approach to obligatory control must take into
consideration. However, the amount of ad hoc machinery required to account
for partial control in Landaus system, as we will see below in section 2.5.2.3,
ends up undermining the initial appeal that a PRO-based theory appears to have.
And there are empirical problems, as well. As observed by Hornstein (2003),
it is not the case that any predicate that selects a plural subject licenses partial
control, as shown in (34).
(34) a.
b.

They sang alike/were mutually supporting


John hoped/wants [PRO to sing alike/to be mutually supporting]

Notice that the matrix predicate of (34b) is of the type that licenses partial
control (cf. [31]). So (34b) shows that partial control must in part be determined by properties of the embedded predicate. In fact, Hornstein suggests
that what seems to distinguish the predicates that support partial control from
the ones that do not is that the former can select a commitative PP, as shown
in (35).
(35) a.
b.

The chair met/gathered/applied together for the grant with Bill


The chair sang alike/is mutually supporting with Bill

The data in (36)(37) further show that being compatible with a commitative
PP is not sufficient for partial control to be licensed: the commitative must be
selected.
(36) a.
b.
c.

The chair met/gathered/applied together for the grant ( with Bill)


The chair left/went out (with Bill)
The committee left/went out

(37)

The chair preferred [PRO to leave/go out at 6]


(exhaustive control: OK; partial control: )

Example (36b) shows that, as opposed to what happens with meet/ gather/apply
together in (36a), the commitative associated with leave/go out is not selected.
In turn, (36c) shows that a [+Mer] noun can be the subject of leave/go out.
Now, given that in Landaus system PRO can always be intrinsically specified as
[+Mer], one would expect that a sentence such as (37), whose matrix predicate
is of the type that licenses partial control, should allow a partial-control reading
with a [+Mer] PRO. But this does not happen. Example (37) only has an
exhaustive control reading.

2.5 Non-movement approaches to control

23

The fact that the availability of partial control is contingent on there being
a predicate that selects a commitative complement suggests that, rather than
involving a plural subject, partial control may in fact involve the licensing of
a null commitative argument in a standard (exhaustive) obligatory-control
construction. That is, a sentence such as (38a) should actually be represented
as in (38b) (still keeping PRO for purposes of discussion), where pro is a null
commitative argument.
(38) a.
b.

The chair preferred to meet at 6


[The chair]i hoped [PROi to[+tense] meet prok at 3]

Here is not the place for us to pursue the suggestion encapsulated in (38b) (see
section 5.6.1 below for discussion). What is relevant for our current purposes is
to point out that, in Landaus system, the availability of partial control should
be quite free once the tense requirements on the infinitive are satisfied. It is
indeed quite mysterious in his system why partial control should depend on the
potential licensing of commitative arguments within the infinitival clause. And
if partial control turns out to be more related to the licensing of null commitative
arguments, whatever accounts for exhaustive control should also cover partial
control. In other words, if something along the lines of (38b) is on the right
track, partial control does not intrinsically favor a PRO-based approach and we
are back to the original question of what the best account of the null embedded
subject of (38a) is (see section 5.6.1 below for a suggestion of how partial
control can be analyzed under the MTC).
2.5.2.2 [Tense] and [Agr] features and finite control
The second major aspect of Landaus system is the specific typology of control
configurations involving both non-finite and finite clauses it establishes.
Following a venerable tradition, Landau assumes that the local environment of
the embedded subject must provide all the necessary information to determine
whether it must, can, or cannot be PRO. In particular, Landau takes the relevant local licensing features to be (semantic) [T(ense)] and (morphological)
[Agr(eement)]. Where Landau departs from previous accounts is in the way
these features conspire to determine the nature of control, as shown in (39)
(from Landau 2004: 840).23
23 EC and PC in (39) stand for exhaustive and partial control respectively. C(ontrol)-subjunctives
and F(ree)-subjunctives are distinct in that only the former necessarily require an obligatorycontrol interpretation of their subjects. For purposes of exposition, below we use I for the tense
head T in order to distinguish it from the tense feature [T].

24

Some historical background

(39) Obligatory control


EC-infinitive Balkan Csubjunctive

No control
Hebrew
3rd-person
subjunctive

PC-infinitive

I0

[T, Agr]

[T, +Agr] [+T, +Agr] [+T, Agr]

C0

[T]

[T]

Balkan
F-subjunctive

indicative

[+T, +Agr]

[+T, +Agr]

[+T, +Agr] [+T, (+Agr)] [+T, +Agr]

Consider the infinitives in (39), for instance. As mentioned in section 2.5.2.1,


Landau has argued that the essential difference between an infinitival that allows
partial control and one that disallows it is its tense properties: an infinitival
I allows both exhaustive and partial control if specified as [+T], but only
exhaustive control if specified as [T]. This difference is meant to capture
the fact that the infinitival clauses that allow partial control can be temporally
independent from the matrix clause, as illustrated in (40) below. Given that the
tense properties of I are predicted by the selecting predicate and that selection
is a local relation, the [T] features of I are accordingly replicated on C in (39).
Thus, a verb like hope, for instance, selects a CP headed by C[+T] , which in
turn selects an IP headed by I[+T] .
(40) a.
b.

Yesterday John hoped to travel tomorrow


Yesterday John managed to travel tomorrow

As Landau observes, the basic intuition underlying the typology in (39) is


that obligatory-control configurations do not form a natural class; they are in
fact the complement subset of the natural class of non-controlled environments.
Putting aside the case of Hebrew third-person subjunctives for the moment, the
generalization is that if I is positively specified for both [T] and [Agr], it does
not trigger obligatory control. On the other hand, a single negative specification
for [T] or [Agr] ([+T, Agr] or [T, +Agr]) or a negative specification on both
([T, Agr]) will necessarily lead to obligatory control. In sum, obligatory
control is the elsewhere case.
Given this feature distribution, it follows that indicative complements should
not display obligatory control. As Landau (2004: 849850) puts it, the only
generalization in this domain that appears to be universal is the incompatibility of indicative clauses with OC. Anything else is possible, under certain circumstances. However, this generalization is falsified by referential
(i.e., non-expletive, non-arbitrary) null subjects in (colloquial) Brazilian Portuguese. As extensively argued by Ferreira (2000, 2004, 2009) and Rodrigues
(2002, 2004), null subjects in Brazilian Portuguese show all the diagnostics of

2.5 Non-movement approaches to control

25

obligatory control. Take the Brazilian Portuguese sentences in (41)(45), for


instance.24
(41)

(42)

Comprou um carro novo


Bought a car new
She/he bought a new car
[[o Joao] disse que [o pai
d[o Pedro]] acha que vai
The Joao said that the father of-the Pedro thinks that goes
ser promovido]
be promoted
Joaoi said that [Pedroj s father]k thinks that hek/ i/ j/ l is going to be
promoted

(43)

So o Joao acha que vai ganhar a corrida


Only the Joao thinks that goes win
the race
Only Joao is an x such that x thinks that x will win the race
NOT: Only Joao is an x such that x thinks that he, Joao, will win the race

(44)

O Joao esta achando que vai ganhar a corrida e o


The Joao is thinking that goes win
the race
and the
Pedro tambem esta
Pedro too
is
Joao thinks that hes going to win the race and Pedro does, too (think that
he, Pedro, is going to win the race)

(45)

O infeliz
acha que devia receber uma medalha
The unfortunate thinks that should receive a
medal
The unfortunate thinks that he himself should receive a medal

Example (41) shows that null subjects in Brazilian Portuguese require an


antecedent25 and (42), that the antecedent must be the closest c-commanding
DP. As for interpretation matters, a null subject in Brazilian Portuguese is
interpreted as a bound variable when its antecedent is an only-DP (cf. [43]); it
obligatorily triggers sloppy reading under ellipsis (cf. [44]); and it only admits
a de se reading in sentences such as (45). Importantly, in all the sentences of
(41)(45), the null subject displays the diagnostics of obligatory control despite
the fact that it is within a standard indicative clause.
The existence of finite control into indicative complements in Brazilian
Portuguese therefore presents prima facie problems for the typology proposed
24 See Ferreira (2000, 2004, 2009) and Rodrigues (2002, 2004) for additional tests.
25 Referential null subjects in matrix clauses in Brazilian Portuguese can only be licensed as
instances of topic-drop (see Ferreira 2000, Modesto 2000, and Rodrigues 2004 for relevant
discussion).

26

Some historical background

by Landau.26 Below we discuss the implications of this empirical fact within


Landaus Agree-based approach.
2.5.2.3 Determining the interpretation of obligatorily controlled
PRO via Agree
In addition to the features [T] and [Agr] to be hosted by C and I, Landau (2004:
841) also proposes that DPs must be featurally specified as to whether or not
they support independent reference ([R]): lexical DPs and pro are specified
as [+R] and PRO as [R]. According to Landau (p. 841), [b]oth values on
[R] are interpretable, when occurring on nominal phrases. However, the [R]
feature makes PRO a potential goal for agreement, for this feature acts as an
instruction to coindex the -features of PRO with those of an antecedent; Agree
is a way of achieving that (p. 843). The feature [R] is also assigned to some
functional categories, according to the rule in (46).
(46)

R-assignment rule (Landau 2004: 842)


For X0 [T, Agr] {I0 , C0 , . . .}:
[+R]/X0 [__] , if = = +
[R]/elsewhere

Given these assumptions, let us consider the derivation of an exhaustive control


construction such as (47) in Landaus system, which is given in (48).
(47)

John managed to fix the car

(48)

Agree

[DP I2 [ . . . tDP . . . [CP C[T] [IP PRO[R] I1[T, Agr, R] [tPRO . . . ]]]]]
Agree

Agree

Agree

Agreement between I1 and PRO in (48) deletes I1 s [Agr] and [R] features.
Agreement between C and I1 then deletes Cs [T] feature. Finally, after
agreeing with the matrix subject, I2 agrees with PRO, coindexing their features
and licensing PROs [R] feature.27
26 See Rodrigues (2004) for arguments that Finnish may also allow obligatory control into finite
indicative clauses.
27 The only relevant difference between (48) and a typical obligatory-control subjunctive in Greek
such as (i) in Landaus system is that in the latter, I1 has overt agreement morphology ([+Agr]),
rather than abstract agreement ([Agr]), as represented in (ii).
(i)

Greek (Terzi 1997):


I Maria1 prospathise Pro1/ 2 na divasi
the Maria tried.3SG
PRT read.3SG
Maria tried to read

2.5 Non-movement approaches to control

27

In turn, a partial-control construction like (49) is to be derived along the lines


of (50).
(49)
(50)

The chair hoped to meet at 6


Agree

[DP I2[+T, +Agr, +R] [ . . . tDP . . . [CP C[+T, +Agr, +R] [IP PRO[R]
Agree

Agree

I1[+T, Agr, R] [tPRO . . . ]]]]]


Agree

As before, agreement between I1 and PRO deletes I1 s [Agr] and [R] features. Agreement between C and I1 now deletes Cs [+T] and [+Agr] features,
but not its [+R] feature, for it mismatches the [R] feature of I1 . C then checks
its [+R] feature with I2 . Notice that I2 agrees with C and not with PRO, which
raises the question of how PRO can license its [R] feature. According to
Landau (p. 845), this feature gets licensed in virtue of I2 agreeing with C,
which in turn is coindexed with PRO via I1 . Furthermore, Landau assumes
(p. 849) that if I2 and PRO do not agree directly, their [Mer] features need not
match. If I2 is specified as [Mer] and PRO is inherently specified as [+Mer],
a partial-control effect will arise.
Let us finally consider the last type of obligatory-control configuration listed
in (39): Hebrew third-person subjunctives.28 Given the feature specification for
Hebrew subjunctives in (39), the derivation of a sentence such as (51) proceeds
as in (52).
(51)

Hebrew (Landau 2004)


Gili hivtiax [se- eci yitnaheg yafe]
Gil promised that will-behave.3SG.M well
Gil promised to behave

(52)

Agree

[DP I2[+R] [ . . . tDP . . . [CP C[+T, +Agr, +R] [IP PRO[R] I1[+T, +Agr, +R] [tPRO . . . ]]]]]
Agree

(ii)

Agree

Agree

Agree

[DP I2 [ . . . tDP . . . [CP C[T] [IP PRO[R] I1[T, +Agr, R] [tPRO ]]]]]
Agree

Agree

Agree

28 Landau (2004: 815, 846) attributes the lack of a derivation with an uncontrolled third-person
pro in Hebrew subjunctives to the non-existence of referential third-person pro in the language.
More specifically, he assumes Shlonskys (1997) proposal that third-person pros in Hebrew are
null Num heads and, because they are null, they cannot support a third-person feature hosted
by a higher D-head.

28

Some historical background

Agreement between I1 and PRO in (52) checks the [+Agr] feature of I1 , but
not its [+R] feature, which mismatches the [R] feature of PRO. Agreement
between C and I1 then checks all of the features of C and the [+R] feature of I1 .
If the matrix I2 had a [R] feature, the remaining unchecked [R] feature of
PRO would be licensed by agreement with I2 . However, in (52) I2 is specified
as [+R]. The [R] feature of PRO must then be indirectly licensed in virtue of
the agreement relations between I2 and C, between C and I1 , and between I1
and PRO.
As the reader can easily check, the feature specifications and computations
proposed above are such that they track, but do not explain, the distribution
and interpretation of PRO. Landau (p. 842) in fact acknowledges that his Rassignment rule is an honest stipulation, which played the role of case in
previous models. Unfortunately, if the distribution and interpretation of PRO
is to rest on a stipulation, calling it honest does not make the analysis less
stipulative. In other words, it is subject to the same criticism made to the
null-case approach: the distribution and interpretation of PRO ends up being
stipulated under the guise of lexical features.
It is also worth pointing out that, under the label Agree, Landaus proposal
actually groups different kinds of relations, which do not obviously form a
natural class. Thus, in addition to the familiar valuation procedure involving a
[interpretable] and a [+interpretable] feature of Chomsky (2001), the Agree
operation assumed by Landau encompasses three other types of relations. First,
it admits relations between two [interpretable] features such as the agreement
between C and I1 with respect to [Agr] features in (50) or the agreement between
I2 and C in (52) with respect to [R] features. According to Landau (p. 849),
[t]he fact that C bears [+Agr] does not stop this feature from entering Agree
with [Agr] of I ; recall that [+Agr] on C represents abstract [Agr] to begin
with (in most cases), thus [Agr] on both heads is semantically uninterpretable
and phonologically null. That may be so, but the resort to features which are
motivated neither in LF nor in PF terms not only is completely at odds with core
minimalist assumptions, but also reinforces the impression that these features
are only redescribing the facts to be explained.
The second type of relations encompassed by Landaus version of Agree
include coindexing relations such as the agreement between I2 and PRO in
(48) to license PROs [R] feature (which was assumed to be a [+interpretable]
feature, as mentioned above). Finally, it also includes composite-coindexing
relations such as the licensing of the [R] feature of PRO in (50) and (52),
which involves the conjunction of three basic agreement relations: between I2
and C, between C and I1 , and between I1 and PRO. Even if we put aside the fact

2.5 Non-movement approaches to control

29

that coindexing and feature valuation/deletion seem to be of different nature,


it is not at all trivial to explain how the composition of the three agreement
relations mentioned should result in coindexing. Recall that, in (50) and (52),
I2 and C agree with respect to [R] as do I1 and PRO, but C and I1 agree with
respect to [Agr]. In virtue of these two agreement relations, PRO agrees with I1
through some kind of transitivity assumption. However, it is worth asking how
transitivity arises given that the agreement relations computed do not target the
same type of feature. Note that, if A is taller than B and B is fatter than C, then
one can conclude nothing regarding As height or weight as regards C. However,
for the account above to work, we must assume that this logic is overturned when
certain feature sets are involved, which in turn brings the obvious minimalist
question: why are these features endowed with their alleged properties? This
shows that the proposed transitivity in the account of (51) does not follow as
a point of logic, but is rather a stipulated feature in Landaus system. Thus,
the proposed composite-coindexing relations should be subject to the same
skepticism we accord the Barriers approach to A-movement, which licenses
A-traces by resorting to a chain coindexing mechanism combining Spec-head
agreement with head-to-head government (see Chomsky 1986a, section 11).
The non-explanatory nature of the proposal is further highlighted when
Landaus account of (51) is examined in light of his take on the impossibility of
PRO in indicative clauses. As we saw in (39), the feature specification proposed
for indicatives involved the features [+T] and [+Agr] for I and no features for
C. The reason for C not to be associated with [T] features is that the tense value
of I is completely independent from the matrix clause. Furthermore, since
Landau (p. 840) assumes that the presence of [Agr] on C is parasitic on [+T], if
indicative C does not have [+T], it cannot have [Agr] either. Finally, if it is not
specified for both features, it cannot be associated with an [R] feature, according
to the R-assignment rule in (46). That being so, Landau (p. 843) claims that
the reason why PRO cannot be licensed in the indicative configuration in (53)
below (Landaus [40b]) is that Agree fails due to a feature mismatch in the
R value between I and PRO. Thus, indicative clauses with independent tense
universally do not display OC.
(53)

[DP I2 [ . . . tDP . . . [CP C [IP I1[+T, +Agr, +R] [VP PRO[R] . . . ]]]]]
Agree

Agree

This specific claim now introduces an additional aspect of compositeagreement relations: feature mismatch is taken to cause a derivational crash
under direct agreement, like the relation between I1[+R] and PRO[R] in (53),

30

Some historical background

but not under composite agreement, like the relation among I2[+R] -C[+R] I1[R] -PRO[R] in (50). Putting aside the fact that no motivation was provided
for why these two instantiations of Agree should yield opposite results, it
is important to point out that this stipulated aspect of composite agreement
leads to overgeneration. Notice that the feature mismatch at the derivational
step depicted in (53), that is, before PRO moves, cannot be the reason for
the derivation to crash. As we saw in the derivation proposed by Landau for
Hebrew subjunctive control in (52), mismatch in the values for [R] by itself is
not a problem if the features can be licensed later on in the derivation. Consider
for instance the structure in (54), which depicts the movement of PRO in (53).
(54)

[DP I2 [ . . . tDP . . . [CP C [IP PRO[R] I1[+T, +Agr, +R] [VP tPRO . . . ]]]]]
Agree

Agree

If I2 in (54) is specified as [R], it will be able to agree with PRO, but the [+R]
feature of I1 will remain unchecked, causing the derivation to crash. Suppose,
by contrast, that I2 is specified as [+R]. As such, it should be able to agree with
I1 , as represented in (55), checking the [+R] feature of the latter.
(55)

Agree

[DP I2[+R] [ . . . tDP . . . [CP C [IP PRO[R] I1[+T, +Agr, +R] [VP tPRO . . . ]]]]]
Agree

Agree

What about the [R] feature of PRO? Recall from (50) and (52) that PRO
can be indirectly licensed by a chain of agreement relations. In (52), for
example, its [R] feature is taken to be licensed in virtue of PROs having
agreed with I1 , which had agreed with C, which in turn had agreed with I2 .
That being so, there should be no reason for PRO not to get licensed in (55) via
a composite-agreement relation. That is, its [R] feature should be licensed
once PRO has agreed with I1 , which agrees with I2 . Crucially, composite
agreement is assumed to be oblivious to feature mismatch. In other words,
once the composite-agreement relations proposed by Landau are assumed,
finite control into indicatives becomes freely available.
In fairness, Landau (2004: 846847) seems to assume that the [+R] feature
of I1 cannot be checked by a probe higher than C: We still account for the fact
that indicative complements in Hebrew do not display OC. In a configuration
like (40b) [= (53) above], as opposed to (43b) [= (52) above], the [+R] feature
of I remains unchecked as no corresponding feature exists on the indicative
C . Notice, however, that C does not prevent a higher probe from agreeing with
the embedded subject in (48), for instance. Given that the embedded subject
and the embedded I are equidistant (see Chomsky 1995), it does not seem
plausible to exclude the checking of the [+R] feature of I1 in (55) based on the

2.5 Non-movement approaches to control

31

intervention of C. Notice also that C in (55) has no features that could block an
agreement relation between a higher probe and I1 .
A phase-based approach to this conundrum is of no help either. Landau
(2004, footnote 26) claims that [a]lthough not at the edge of its phase, PRO is
visible to Agree from the outside since its (- and R-) features are interpretable
(hence, never erased). Note, however, that in Landaus system the - and Rfeatures of PRO are only valued after agreement. Thus, it is plausible to assume
that spell-out/transfer must be halted until PRO has its features valued and, if
this is so, we are back to the technical question of why I1 in (55) cannot be
checked by the matrix probe if spell-out/transfer is on hold. Of course, one may
attempt to specify the inner workings of spell-out/transfer in such a way that
PRO becomes immune to spell-out/transfer at the relevant derivational step, but
not I1 . But that would only add to an already loaded machinery, without actually
shedding light on the discussion. Still, such an attempt would require further
complications. Recall that, under composite-agreement relations in Landaus
system (cf. [52] for Hebrew and [ii] in footnote 27 for Balkan languages), the
higher probe agrees with the embedded C, which is also coindexed with PRO
via I (Landau 2004: 845). This in turn indicates that the embedded I must
still be available to the computation at the derivational step where PRO is to
have its R-feature licensed.
To wrap up: if composite relations must be assumed in order to account
for Hebrew subjunctive control, control into indicative clauses becomes freely
allowed. Although this may be good news for languages such as Brazilian
Portuguese, as discussed in section 2.5.2.2, it is certainly unwelcome for most
languages.
2.5.2.4 Simplifying Landaus calculus of control
Let us examine what the relevant property of Brazilian Portuguese indicative
clauses is that triggers obligatory control. Ferreira (2000, 2004, 2009) proposes
that finite Ts in Brazilian Portuguese are ambiguous in being associated with
either a complete or an incomplete set of -features and that obligatory control
is licensed in clauses with a -incomplete T.29 Nunes (2007, 2008a) reinterprets
Ferreiras proposal in terms of the presence or absence of the feature [person] in
T. He observes that the verbal-agreement paradigm of finite clauses in Brazilian
Portuguese is such that the only inflection that overtly encodes both number and
29 Ferreira (2000, 2004, 2009) (as well as Rodrigues 2002, 2004) in fact analyzes null subjects in
Brazilian Portuguese in terms of the MTC. Thus, in his system a -incomplete T does not value
the case feature of the subject of its clause, which can then undergo A-movement to the matrix
clause. We will leave a detailed discussion of null subjects in Brazilian Portuguese under the
MTC for section 4.4 below.

32

Some historical background

person is the first-person singular inflection. All the other cases involve either
number specification with default value for person (third) or default values for
both person and number (third singular), as illustrated in (56).
(56)

Verbal-agreement paradigm in (colloquial) Brazilian Portuguese


cantar to sing: indicative present
eu I

canto

P:1; N:SG

canta

P:default; N:default (= 3SG)

voce you (SG)


ele he
ela she
a gente we
voces you (PL)
eles they (MASC)

cantam

P:default; N:PL (= 3PL)

elas they (FEM)

Nunes proposes that -complete and -incomplete finite Ts in Ferreiras terms


correspond to Ts specified with number and person features or a number feature
only. In case a T with just a number feature is selected, the corresponding person specification will be added in the morphological component by redundancy
rules, as sketched in (57) below. That is, if T has only a number feature and it
is valued as singular in the syntactic component, it will later be associated with
first person in the morphological component; if the number feature receives any
other value in the syntactic component (default or plural), it will later be associated with a default value for person (third) in the morphological component.
(57)

cantar to sing: indicative present


Valuation of T in the
syntactic component

Addition of [person] in the


morphological component

Surface form
of the verb

N:SG

P:1; N:SG

canto

N:default

P:default; N:default

canta

N:PL

P:default; N:PL

cantam

If finite control in Brazilian Portuguese is related to the possibility that its finite
Ts may be specified only for number in the syntactic component, we now find
a commonality with Hebrew subjunctive control. As argued by Landau (2004),
subjunctive control in Hebrew is restricted to the third person. This can be

2.5 Non-movement approaches to control

33

interpreted as indicating that the relevant subjunctive T in Hebrew may also


be associated with only a number feature, in which case it will surface with
default-person morphology, that is, third person. This in turn paves the way
for a considerable simplification in Landaus typology, with the desired effects.
In other words, the environments where one finds obligatory control involve
deficient T-heads, i.e., heads that are temporally deficient, -deficient, or both.
Landaus table in (39) can now be revised as in (58), where + stands for fully
specified and for deficient (or null).
(58)

Obligatory control
[T

untensed
uninflected
infinitives,
etc.

[T

tensed uninflected
infinitives,
Brazilian
Portuguese
indicatives,
Hebrew 3rd-person
subjunctives, etc.

No control

[T

Balkan untensed
subjunctives,
etc.

[T+ , + ]
English
indicatives,
Balkan tensed
subjunctives,
etc.

The table in (58) shares with Landau the intuition that obligatory control is
typologically more diverse, but drastically simplifies the calculus of control
in Landaus terms. Under (58), finding out whether or not a given clause licenses
obligatory control does not need to take the features of C into consideration,
for I is sufficient: if either [T] or [] is deficient, obligatory control is possible. Besides simplifying Landaus system and accounting for finite control
into indicatives in Brazilian Portuguese, (58) also eliminates the suspicious
ambiguity of the combination of the specifications C[+T, +Agr] and I[+T, +Agr]
in Landaus table in (39), which were employed to describe both obligatory
control in Hebrew subjunctives and no control in Balkan F-subjunctives (see
section 4.4 below for further discussion).
As opposed to Landaus system, what matters in (58) is not the morphological realization of agreement features, but rather how specified the set of
agreement features associated with I is. Conceptually, this is also a welcome
result. If obligatory control is to be ultimately determined in the syntactic component, why should the PF realization of agreement features matter? From the
perspective of (58), the availability of obligatory control is determined by the
tense and agreement features that enter in the syntactic component, regardless
of their later morphological realization.

34

Some historical background

The question that now arises is why obligatory control should correlate with
deficiency in tense or -feature specification, as depicted in (58). We have seen
that Landaus Agree-based approach was couched on the admittedly stipulated
postulation and distribution of [R]-features, which mimicked the case-based
approach to PRO in previous models. Given that the distribution of PRO is
handled in such a stipulative manner, it would not be surprising if Landaus
R-assignment rule in (46) could be reformulated in such a way that it should
become compatible with the generalizations embodied in (58), something that
we will not pursue here. However, notice that tense or -feature deficiency
generally characterizes porous domains out of which movement can take
place (see e.g., Boeckx 2003, 2005). Thus, from the perspective of the MTC,
the picture embodied in (58) is exactly what one would expect: we can simply
replace control by A-movement, as in (59).
(59)

A-movement:

A-movement:

[T , ]

[T+ , ]

[T , + ]

untensed
uninflected
infinitives,
etc.

tensed uninflected
infinitives,
Brazilian
Portuguese
indicatives,
Hebrew
3rd-person
subjunctives, etc.

Balkan untensed
subjunctives,
etc.

[T+ , + ]
English
indicatives,
Balkan tensed
subjunctives,
etc.

We return to this correlation between movement/obligatory control and Infldeficiency in section 4.4.
2.5.2.5 Summary
Combining aspects of syntactic and semantic approaches, Landaus Agreebased approach to control involves a rich array of features that allows him
to capture many manifestations of control, with a very high degree of formal
explicitness. Here we have focused on three major pillars of his proposal: (i) the
importance ascribed to partial control; (ii) the typology predicted by his feature
system; and (iii) the technical details of how the distribution and interpretation
of PRO is to be obtained through the operation Agree. We have seen that,
given their sensitivity to the argument properties of the embedded predicate,
partial-control constructions may also be conceived as involving a null commitative argument, instead of an obligatory-controlled PRO with an independent

2.6 Conclusion

35

semantic plural feature. In other words, the existence of partial control is not by
itself an argument for PRO-based theories. As for the typology predicted, the
system undergenerates in that it has no room for finite control into indicatives,
which is allowed in Brazilian Portuguese. Finally, the technical apparatus rests
on various stipulations regarding the properties of features needed to track the
distribution and interpretation of PRO and on composite-agreement relations
that are not independently motivated and lead to overgeneration. All in all, we
agree with Landau (p. 842) that the theoretical foundations for his approach are
on equal footing with the Case-based approach in previous models. Despite its
technical precision and empirical coverage, it accounts for the distribution and
the interpretation of PRO by ultimately encoding the facts to be explained in
the guise of stipulative lexical features.
2.6

Conclusion

In this chapter we have discussed different approaches to control within the


generative enterprise, from the standard theory to minimalism. It is an interesting fact that the standard theory and the GB approaches took PRO not as a
lexical formative, but as the output of the computations of the syntactic component. Accordingly, each of them attempted to account for the distribution
and interpretation of PRO in terms of the broad architectural properties of the
model of UG then assumed. By contrast, the null-case and Agree approaches
take PRO to be a lexical item and, despite their laudable attempts to deduce the
distributional and interpretive properties of PRO, they end up simply encoding
them as lexical features, thereby eschewing true explanation.
With this background, we are now ready to examine the major properties of
the MTC, given a minimalist setting.

Basic properties of the movement


theory of control

3.1

Introduction

If we could start afresh, without our historical baggage and the preconceptions
that often come with it, we would likely be struck by the similarities between
sentences like (1a) and (1b) below. Both sentences involve a matrix predicate
that embeds a non-finite sentential complement and, more interestingly, the
unrealized subject of the embedded clause is interpreted as being the same
as the subject of the matrix clause. That is, John is the kisser in both (1a) and
(1b).
(1) a.
b.

John seemed to kiss Mary


John tried to kiss Mary

In face of these structural and interpretive similarities, our fresh minds


unbiased but armed with Occams razor would undoubtedly attempt to capture
them in a uniform way, with the same mechanisms, unless presented with strong
independent reasons for not doing so. The seduction of this simple reasoning
encapsulates the MTC. The MTC takes it that the null hypothesis for the
derivation of raising and control constructions such as (1a) and (1b) should
resort to the same grammatical devices. Thus, if (1a) is to be analyzed in terms
of A-movement, (1b) should prima facie be analyzed as involving A-movement
as well. Of course, null hypotheses can be, and frequently are, incorrect. But
the incorrectness has to be demonstrated and this in our view has not been
the case with the MTC, despite claims to the contrary, as we shall discuss.
In this chapter, we present the basic features of (our version of) the MTC,
leaving a detailed discussion of its empirical advantages and its solutions to
problems raised in the literature to chapters 4 and 5. Section 3.2 starts with a
historical discussion of factors that prevented the MTC from being entertained
as the null hypothesis from day one. Section 3.3 shows how the abandonment of
D-structure in the minimalist program made it possible and natural to explore
the null hypothesis underlying the MTC. Section 3.4 shows how an analysis
36

3.2 Departing from the null hypothesis

37

of controlled PRO as a trace of A-movement deduces the configurational,


phonetic, and interpretive properties of obligatory control and how obligatorily
controlled PRO can be dispensed with as a grammatical formative. Finally,
section 3.5 reviews the architectural features of the MTC and its place within the
minimalist program, showing that there exist no strong reasons for discarding
the null hypothesis regarding the derivation of control and raising constructions.
3.2

Departing from the null hypothesis: historical, architectural,


and empirical reasons

Consider once again the examples in (1). For all their similarities, there is a
difference between the two sentences. In (1b) John has an interpretive function
in virtue of being the matrix subject that is absent in (1a). Infelicitously, we
might say that in (1b) John is described as both a kisser and a trier while in (1a),
though he is a kisser still, he is in no sense a seemer. This is reflected in the fact
that (1a) has a paraphrase like it seemed that John kissed Mary, while (1b)
has (at best) the very awkward paraphrase John tried for John to kiss Mary
and no possible paraphrase analogous to the one for (1a): it tried for John to
kiss Mary is almost incomprehensible.
Generative grammarians, it is fair to say, have been more impressed by the last
noted difference than the aforementioned similarities, for they have generally
taken the semantic difference revealed by the paraphrases to indicate that these
otherwise similar sentences have entirely different generative (derivational)
profiles. Example (1a) is taken to mediate the relation between the two subject
positions by moving John from the embedded to the matrix position, leaving
behind a coindexed trace, as illustrated in (2a) below. By contrast, (1b) is taken
to relate John to the embedded-subject position through some kind of binding
relation, as represented in (2b).1
(2) a.
b.

[John1 seemed [t1 to kiss Mary]]


[John1 tried [PRO1 to kiss Mary]]

It is important to note that enriching the theoretical apparatus by having


UG invoke different grammatical resources in order to capture the interpretive
difference between (1a) and (1b) is not the only conceivable option. As already
suggested in section 3.1, one might imagine keeping the theoretical apparatus
1 Unless it is relevant to the discussion, we abstract from the VP internal-subject hypothesis in this
chapter. Also for presentational purposes, we will employ GB representations in terms of traces
and PRO when nothing is at stake; as we saw in section 2.3, similar distinctions were made in
earlier periods using different technology.

38

Basic properties of the movement theory of control

constant and analyzing (1b) also in terms of movement, as illustrated in (3)


below. From this perspective, the interpretive difference between (1a) and (1b)
is to be ascribed to the indisputable fact that there is an additional -role
available in the matrix clause of (1b) (the trier -role), but not in the matrix
clause of (1a). Therefore, as John moves to the matrix clause, it may establish
a new thematic relation in (1b), but not in (1a).
(3)

[John1 tried [t1 to kiss Mary]]

The analysis in (3), which essentially embodies the MTC, is arguably the null
hypothesis for the analysis of (1b). Given the pervasive role of movement in the
grammar however it is encoded Occams razor should urge us to attempt
to make do with movement, given that it is already independently required.
Interestingly, this has not been a widely explored path in generative grammar2
and it is worth pausing to consider why this is so.
In part, this can be attributed to historical reasons regarding the development
of the field. In the earliest days of generative grammar, simply attaining descriptive adequacy was a tremendous challenge as the basic formal tools to handle
linguistic data were still in the making. It is therefore unsurprising that these
first stages were essentially taxonomic, establishing the inventory of possible
constructions in natural languages and formulating the rules that should yield
the catalogued constructions. Thus, until the early 1980s, transformations were
complex operations that generated alternative structures typed by construction
(e.g., the passive rule, the wh-question formation rule, the relativization rule,
the topicalization rule, etc.). In this scenario, differentiating a raising rule from
a control rule (the equi(valent) NP deletion rule; see section 2.3) makes good
sense. One very good diagnostic for differentiating two constructions is their
differing effects on meaning and, as we noted above, raising sentences like (1a)
do differ from control sentences like (1b) as far as the thematic powers of the
subject John are concerned.
This motivation, though reasonable in this background, ceases to be persuasive with the emergence of the principles-and-parameters approach. One
important legacy of the GB era with the shift from constructions and rules
to principles and parameters is that constructions are now viewed as epiphenomena, resulting from the interaction of more basic operations. Instead of a
(roughly) one-to-one relation between constructions and rules, we now find
basic operations such as Move (or, more radically still, Lasnik and Saitos
[1992] Affect ) underlying the derivation of a multitude of different types
2 An early notable exception is Bowers (1973).

3.2 Departing from the null hypothesis

39

of constructions. For instance, the derivation of passive and raising constructions is taken to employ the same grammatical device, namely, (A-)movement,
rather than resorting to the distinct rules of passive and raising. The differences between these constructions such as the dethematicization of the external
argument in the case of passives are then factored out and analyzed in terms
of other independent components of the grammar (e.g., -theory). But once
one goes this far, there is no obvious conceptual barrier to categorizing control
with passive and raising, all sharing the same generative resources. The three
constructions could potentially be derived by the same grammatical tool (Amovement) and their differences allocated to different components of the grammar. Let us make the same point in a slightly different way: nobody assumes
that wh-questions are the same as relative clauses. Nonetheless, it is now widely
accepted (among generative grammarians) that, whatever differences the two
constructions enjoy (and there are many), these differences do not undermine
the claim that their derivations both involve a common (A-)movement operation. The MTC asks that this same reasoning be applied to raising and control
configurations. The source of their differences may reside not in the operations
that go into generating them, but in the interaction of their specific properties
with other grammatical components. In section 3.3 and Chapter 5 below, we
will examine in detail potential sources for the differences between control and
raising constructions documented in the literature. The important point to bear
in mind here is that with the abandonment of constructions as grammatical
primitives, there remains no logical impediment for entertaining the hypothesis
that control structures are derived by movement.
In fact, the principles-and-parameters perspective, in which constructions are
not theoretical primitives, invites one to eliminate the exceptional theoretical
status of control qua construction in the grammar. Recall from our discussion
in section 2.4 that the analysis of control in GB could not ultimately be reduced
to binding/construal without additional provisos. Once PRO is analyzed as a
pronominal anaphor, the account of the interpretive properties of PRO requires
a specific grammatical module, the control module, which must somehow
disregard the pronominal specification of PRO in OC constructions and its
anaphoric specification in NOC constructions. Such construction sensitivity
looks like a fossil from previous stages of the generative enterprise that one
would like to get rid of.
The second historical reason for why the MTC was not pursued within
generative grammar, which also accounts for why the construction-specific
flavor of the control module was tolerated within GB, has to do with the
general architecture of the grammar standardly assumed prior to the minimalist

40

Basic properties of the movement theory of control

program. More specifically, the assumption of D(eep)-structure (DS) as a level


of representation left no room for an approach along the lines of the MTC.3 Let
us see why.
In prior models, DS has two important properties. First, it codes all the
relevant argument-structure information a sentence expresses. It is, in technical
lingo, a pure representation of GF-, where all and only argument (thematic)
positions are filled.4 Thus, if a predicate has a logical subject and object (agent
and theme), then both subject and object positions must be lexically filled at
DS. On the other hand, if a verb has a logical object but no subject (e.g., a
passive or unaccusative verb), the object position must be lexically filled at DS,
whereas the subject position must be empty. The second important aspect of
DS is that, functionally, it is the output of phrase-building operations (namely,
phrase-structure rules and lexical-insertion operations) and the input to the
transformational component. In other words, in models that include a DS level
all lexical-insertion operations precede all movement transformations.
Let us now examine how the sentences in (1) repeated below in (4) are
analyzed under these assumptions. Take the representations in (5), for instance,
which indicate that John has moved from the embedded to the matrix-subject
position, leaving a trace behind.
(4) a.
b.

John seemed to kiss Mary


John tried to kiss Mary

(5) a.
b.

[John1 seemed [t1 to kiss Mary]]


[John1 tried [t1 to kiss Mary]]

Given the requirement that lexical insertion must precede movement, the DS
representation of (5a) and (5b) should be as in (6) below, with John generated in the embedded-subject position. In both (6a) and (6b), kiss has two
arguments and its subject and object positions are correctly filled. Seem
in (6a) does not assign a -role to its subject position and, accordingly, its
subject position is left empty. By contrast, try does assign a -role to its
subject position, but there is no category filling this position in (6b). Hence,
a movement-based derivation along the lines of (5b) for the control construction in (4b) is ruled out at DS, as the thematic requirements of try are not
3 Deep structure is not quite the same as D-structure. However, for current purposes the differences
are insignificant as are the differences between various models of grammar that included a Dstructure level, e.g., EST and both early and late GB models.
4 See Chomsky (1981: 43).

3.2 Departing from the null hypothesis

41

satisfied at this level. The derivation of (4b) should therefore have two distinct elements filling the subject positions, as illustrated in (7b), with John
occupying the matrix-subject position and PRO the embedded-subject position. Notice that a similar DS representation for raising constructions, as illustrated in (7a), is not licit, as the subject position of seem is filled despite
the fact that it is not thematic. In other words, assuming DS in the grammar
unavoidably leads to a movement analysis of raising and a construal analysis of
control.
(6) a.
b.

DS: [Seemed [John to kiss Mary]]


DS: [Tried [John to kiss Mary]]

(7) a.
b.

DS: [John seemed [PRO to kiss Mary]]


DS: [John tried [PRO to kiss Mary]]

The big empirical virtue of assigning distinct DS representations to raising


and control constructions along the lines of (6a) and (7b) is that it derives
semantic differences between these constructions in a principled manner. Take
the contrasts in (8)(10), for example.
(8) a.
b.
(9) a.
b.
(10) a.
b.

There seems to be someone kissing Mary


There tried to be someone kissing Mary
The cat seems to be out of the bag (idiomatic interpretation: OK)
The cat tried to be out of the bag (idiomatic interpretation: )
The doctor seemed to examine Mary Mary seemed to be examined by
the doctor
The doctor tried to examine Mary = Mary tried to be examined by the
doctor

In (8), we can find an expletive in the subject of seem but not of try. Why?
Because expletives have no semantic content and so cannot bear -roles.5 As
the subject of seem is not thematic, it must be empty at DS, as shown in
(11a) below; there can then be inserted in the subject position of seem after
DS without semantic (or grammatical) violence being done. In contrast, as the
subject position of try is thematic, at DS it must be filled by a category that can
bear a -role. If it is left empty at DS, as in (11b) and later filled with there,
the thematic properties of try will not be satisfied at DS. If there fills this
position already at DS, as in (11c), we again have an illicit DS representation,
for there is not a valid -role bearer.
5 At least not conventional ones. We set aside for the nonce the quasi-argument status of it in
weather constructions like it is raining (see Chomsky 1986b for discussion).

42

Basic properties of the movement theory of control

(11) a.
b.
c.

DS: [Seems [to be someone kissing Mary]]


DS: [Tried [to be someone kissing Mary]]
DS: [There tried [to be someone kissing Mary]]

We can play the same game with the idioms in (9). Idioms are not compositionally interpreted. If we take this to mean that they cannot bear conventional
-roles, then an idiom (or part of one) cannot be simultaneously interpreted
idiomatically and thematically. In (9a) the cat can retain its idiomatic meaning,
as the subject of seem is not thematic and is left empty at DS, as represented
in (12a) below. Thus, (9a) can be interpreted as meaning that it seems like the
secret has been revealed. This is not possible in (9b). Once the cat is in a
thematic position, as shown in (12b), it cannot have an additional idiomatic
interpretation. Consequently, though (9b) is well formed and interpretable, it
means something like the kitty tried to escape the confining sac. It has nothing
to do with secrets revealed or otherwise.
(12) a.
b.

DS: [Seems [[the cat] to be out of the bag]]


DS: [[The cat] tried [PRO to be out of the bag]]

The pairs of sentences in (10) offer a final illustration of the same point. The
sentences in (10a) are rough paraphrases of one another, both meaning that it
seems that the doctor examined Mary. They display voice transparency in the
sense that passivizing the embedded clause has little effect on the interpretation
of the whole. This transparency is captured at DS as Mary fills the object
position of the embedded verb in the DS representation of both sentences, as
illustrated in (13) below. By contrast, the control counterparts in (10b) have
completely different meanings, with the effort being made by the doctor in the
first sentence but by Mary in the second. Lack of voice transparency in (10b)
is attributed to the different positions Mary occupies at DS in each case. As
illustrated below, at DS Mary is the thematic object of examine in (14a) but
the thematic subject of try in (14b).
(13) a.
b.

DS: [Seemed [the doctor to [examine Mary]]]


DS: [Seemed [to be [examined Mary] by the doctor]]

(14) a.
b.

DS: [The doctor tried [PRO to [examine Mary]]]


DS: [Mary tried [to be [examined PRO] by the doctor]]

In sum, the two features of DS reviewed above (namely, that DS is substantively the level at which all and only thematic positions must be filled and
functionally the level that feeds movement operations) conspire to eliminate a
movement approach to control along the lines of (15) below at DS. This is one

3.3 The revival of the null hypothesis

43

reason why the MTC was not considered viable in GB or in previous models
that assumed DS.
(15)

[John1 tried [t1 to kiss Mary]]

Furthermore, the interaction of these two features of DS derives subtle interpretive properties of raising and control structures and this was certainly a big
achievement. So much so that retaining the clumsy construction sensitivity of
the control module in a principles-and-parameters model seemed a reasonable
price to pay.
But questions arise if the architecture of the model changes. Specifically,
what if we give up DS? Can the interpretive differences between raising and
control still be captured? If so, are we not then free to reconsider the null
hypothesis regarding control, expressed in (15)? This is the subject of the next
section.

3.3

Back to the future: elimination of DS and the revival


of the null hypothesis

As we discussed in section 3.2, assuming DS has drastic consequences for the


(simplest) version of the MTC expressed in (15). As DS requires that all -roles
must be discharged before any movement takes place, the -roles associated
with the controller and the controllee must be assigned before any movement
operation, which in practice prevents the controller and the controllee from
being associated via movement. Models that eschew a DS level are therefore
free to pursue the MTC. In other words, without DS there is no obvious architectural reason against reducing raising and control to a common movement
source.
This observation has become especially relevant with the emergence of
the minimalist program in the early 1990s, as minimalism argues against the
postulation of non-interface levels such as DS.6 In particular, minimalists have
explored the idea that lexical insertion and -assignment, on the one hand,
and movement, on the other, can be freely interspersed. A sentence such as
(16), for instance, is to be associated with the (simplified) derivation in (17)
(see footnote 1), where movement of what in (17e) is sandwiched between
different applications of lexical insertion and -assignment.
6 For relevant discussion, see Chomsky (1995), Uriagereka (1998), and Hornstein, Nunes, and
Grohmann (2005), among others.

44

Basic properties of the movement theory of control

(16)

What did Mary say that John saw

(17) a.

Merger of saw and what + -assignment:


[saw what]
Merger of T:
[T [saw what]]
Merger of John + -assignment:
[John [T [saw what]]]
Merger of that:
[that [John [T [saw what]]]]
Movement of what:
[whati [that [John [T [saw ti ]]]]]
Merger of say + -assignment:
[say [whati [that [John [T [saw ti ]]]]]]
Merger of T:
[T [say [whati [that [John [T [saw ti ]]]]]]]
Merger of Mary + -assignment:
[Mary [T [say [whati [that [John [T [saw ti ]]]]]]]]
Merger of C:
[C [Mary [T [say [whati [that [John [T [saw ti ]]]]]]]]]
Movement of what:
[what [C [Mary [T [say [whati [that [John [T [saw ti ]]]]]]]]]]

b.
c.
d.
e.
f.
g.
h.
i.
j.

Once it is independently assumed that -role assignment may follow applications of movement, it is not at all odd to suppose that a control construction
such as (18) below could be derived along the lines of (19), where the trier
-role is assigned after movement of John (cf. [19g]). This is even more so
if movement is in fact a composite operation that includes merger as one of its
basic operations.7 That is, if movement of John in (19g) involves plugging it
into the structure via merger, this merger operation should in principle license
-assignment in the same way merger of Mary in (19a) or John in (19c), for
instance, does.
(18)

John tried to kiss Mary

(19) a.

Merger of kiss and Mary + -assignment:


[kiss Mary]
Merger of T:
[T [kiss Mary]]
Merger of John + -assignment:
[John [T [kiss Mary]]]

b.
c.

7 This holds whether move is identical to merge (is internal merge) or contains it as a subpart
(involves copy and merge). See Chomsky (1995, 2000, 2001), Nunes (1995, 2001, 2004, in
press), and Hornstein (2001) for relevant discussion.

3.3 The revival of the null hypothesis


d.

45

Merger of C:
[C [John [T [kiss Mary]]]]
Merger of tried + -assignment:
[tried [C [John [T [kiss Mary]]]]]
Merger of T:
[T [tried [C [John [T [kiss Mary]]]]]]
Movement of John + -assignment:
[Johni [T [tried [C [ti [T [kiss Mary]]]]]]]

e.
f.
g.

The question that we now have before us is empirical. Can the analysis
sketched in (19) account for the differences between raising and control illustrated in (8)(10), repeated below in (20)(22)?
(20) a.
b.

There seems to be someone kissing Mary


There tried to be someone kissing Mary

(21) a.
b.

The cat seems to be out of the bag (idiomatic interpretation: OK)


The cat tried to be out of the bag (idiomatic interpretation: )

(22) a.

The doctor seemed to examine Mary Mary seemed to be examined by


the doctor
The doctor tried to examine Mary = Mary tried to be examined by the
doctor

b.

As we can verify in the relevant representations of the control structures in


(23), the answer is affirmative.
(23) a.
b.
c.
d.

[Therei tried [ti to be someone kissing Mary]]


[[The cat]i tried [ti to be out of the bag]]
[[The doctor]i tried [ti to [examine Mary]]]
[Maryi tried [ti to be [examined ti ] by the doctor]]

In (23a), there moves to a thematic position, but it is not a licit -role bearer;
hence the unacceptability of (20b). Under the assumption that a given element
cannot be simultaneously interpreted as a thematic argument and an idiom
chunk, movement of the cat to the thematic matrix-subject position in (23b)
will only be licit if the cat is not interpreted idiomatically in the embedded
clause (cf. [21b]). Finally, Mary is associated only with the examinee -role
in (23c), but with both the examinee and trier -roles in (23d); hence the
two sentences in (22b) are not paraphrases of one another.
In sum, once DS is removed, the MTC arises as a theoretical possibility
worth considering in fact, it becomes, we believe, the null hypothesis. Moreover, semantic contrasts such as the ones in (20)(22), which were used to
motivate the derivation of raising and control in terms of distinct grammatical
devices (traces vs. PRO), are accounted for by invoking the same or comparable

46

Basic properties of the movement theory of control

assumptions that a PRO-based DS approach must resort to. In other words, the
use of the minimal technical apparatus independently required (i.e., movement)
has so far also proven to be empirically adequate.
Before we close this section and examine other consequences of the analysis
outlined thus far, it is important to observe that we are not claiming that the
MTC follows from the abandonment of DS (although the simplest removal of
DS does entail this; cf. Chapter 8 for discussion). Chomsky (2004), for instance,
proposes that all thematic information must be discharged via external merge,
that is, the merge operation that is not part of movement (internal merge).
This shows that dropping DS does not entail movement into thematic positions.8
However, eliminating DS is a necessary condition for the viability of the MTC.
In fact, one might be tempted to suggest that any model that rejects DS on
principled grounds should welcome the unification of raising and control by
seeing both as products of movement, especially if there is almost no (or rather
little) empirical cost in doing so. In this sense, the MTC fits rather comfortably
with the broad architectural features of the minimalist program, as we shall
discuss in detail later.

3.4

Controlled PROs as A-movement traces

By treating OC PROs as traces of A-movement (movement to a thematic


position), the MTC unifies form and meaning. Not only does it account for
the lack of phonetic realization of PRO and the distribution of PRO and its
controller, but it also goes a fair way to accounting for PROs interpretive
properties. To illustrate, we examine in the following sections the distinctive
characteristics of OC PRO listed in (24) (see section 2.4).
(24) a.

OC PRO requires an antecedent:


[It was hoped [PRO1 to shave himself]]
Its antecedent must c-command it:

[John1 s campaign hopes [PRO1 to shave himself]]


Its antecedent must be local:

[John1 thinks [that it was hoped [PRO1 to shave himself]]]


It cannot appear in case-marked positions:

[John1 said [(that) PRO1 will travel tomorrow]]


It gets a sloppy interpretation under ellipsis:
[John1 wants [PRO1 to win]] and [Bill does too]
(and Bill wants himself to win/ and Bill wants John to win)

b.
c.
d.
e.

8 See Hornstein, Nunes, and Grohmann (2005, section 2.3.2.2) for relevant discussion.

3.4 Controlled PROs as A-movement traces

47

f.

It cannot have split antecedents:


[John1 asked Bill2 [PRO1+2 to shave themselves/each other]]
g. It has an obligatory de se interpretation in unfortunate contexts:
[[The unfortunate]1 expects [PRO1 to get a medal]]
(#although he doesnt expect himself to get a medal)
h. It must receive a bound reading when linked to an only-DP:
[[Only Churchill]1 remembers [PRO1 giving the BST speech]]
(Only Churchill is such that he remembers himself giving the BST speech/

Nobody else remembers that Churchill gave the BST speech)

3.4.1
Configurational properties
The properties illustrated in (24ad) are standard properties of traces of Amovement (NP-traces in GB terminology).9 In (24a), for instance, PRO requires
an antecedent, but if it takes the expletive as its antecedent, it cannot license
himself. The same situation is found in (25), where the trace must take it as
its antecedent and, therefore, fails to license the anaphor.10
(25)

[It1 was expected [t1 to shave himself]]

The similarity also extends to the c-command and locality restrictions on


the position of the controller. Under the standard assumptions that movement
(in general) targets a c-commanding position11 and that A-movement in particular is very local, the ungrammaticality of (24b) and (24c) reduces to the
ungrammaticality of the representations in (26), where the antecedent does not
c-command the A-trace in (26a) and is not local in (26b) due to the intervention
of it.
(26) a.
b.

[[John1 s sister] was hired t1 ]


[John1 seems [that it was likely [t1 to shave himself]]]

The analysis of the ungrammaticality of (24c) in terms of minimality is


in essence a reincarnation of Rosenbaums (1967, 1970) minimal-distance
9 As discussed in section 2.4, the parallels between OC PRO and NP-traces have been often
noted. See, for example, Koster (1987), where the similarities are expressly emphasized.
10 There arises the question of why the sentence in (ia) below cannot be derived along the lines of
(ib), where the OC PRO/A-trace does have a (local c-commanding) antecedent. We postpone the
discussion of sentences such as (i) to section 5.2 below, where we argue that they are excluded
due to a minimality violation.
(i) a. John was hoped to shave himself
b. [John1 was hoped [PRO1 /t1 to shave himself]]
11 We return to this issue in section 4.5.1 below, where we discuss cases of movement to non-ccommanding positions in adjunct-control constructions.

48

Basic properties of the movement theory of control

principle (see section 2.3). Take the object-control construction in (27) below,
for instance. Under an (updated) Larsonian representation of ditransitive constructions, the structure of the matrix vP in (27) should be as in (28). If PRO
is a trace, it must be the trace of Mary in (28). If it were the trace of John,
movement of John from the embedded-subject position to the matrix [Spec,
vP] would violate minimality, as Mary intervenes.12
(27)

[Johnk convinced Maryi [PROi/ k to leave]]

(28)

vP
v

Johnk
convincedw + v

VP

Maryi

V
tw

[PRO i/ k to leave]

As for (24d), it is also a property that applies to A-traces, as shown in the


hyper-raising case in (29), where John moves from a position associated
with nominative case.
(29)

[John1 seems [(that) t1 will travel tomorrow]]

Under current minimalist technology, the fact that one does not find traces in
case-marked positions follows from Chomskys (2001) activation condition,
according to which an element is active for purposes of A-movement only if
it has not checked/valued its case feature. Again, if OC PRO is an A-trace, it
must occupy a caseless position, otherwise the activation condition is violated.13
Finally, notice that here we dont have two subspecies of A-chains (the canonical
ones, which have to be headed by a case position, and the exceptional ones
headed by PRO, which are not subject to this requirement), as was the case in
GB (see section 2.4). Under the MTC, A-chains are uniformly associated with
a case position (see section 5.4 below for further discussion).
12 We return to a discussion of apparent counter-examples such as (i) in section 5.5.1 below.
(i)

[Johnk promised Maryi [PROk/ i to go]]

13 Notice that this does not entail that OC PRO/trace is always excluded from the subject position of
finite clauses. As we saw in sections 2.5.2.2 and 2.5.2.4, Brazilian Portuguese allows obligatory
control into indicative finite clauses. We will return to the case properties of finite-control
constructions in section 4.4 below.

3.4 Controlled PROs as A-movement traces

49

3.4.2
Interpretive properties
The requirement that ellipsis involving OC have a sloppy reading (cf. [24e])
tracks what we find in raising constructions, as exemplified by (30) below,
where the second conjunct is understood as Bill also seems to be cooperative.
Regardless of how ellipsis is to be ultimately analyzed, the similarities of
interpretation between (24e) and (30) can receive a straightforward account if
they are associated with the same type of dependency relation (i.e., movement),
as represented in (31).
(30)

John seems to be cooperative and Bill does too

(31) a.
b.

[John1 wants [t1 to win]] and [Bill does too]


[John1 seems [t1 to be cooperative]] and [Bill does too]

The prohibition against split antecedents (cf. [24f]) also finds a straightforward account under the MTC. From the point of view of the MTC, if
is the antecedent of PRO, then must have moved from the position occupied by PRO, that is, PRO is the trace of the so-called antecedent. That being
so, split antecedents would only be possible if two DPs could move from
one and the same position. However, a standard assumption within generative
grammar is that two expressions cannot occupy the very same position. This
restriction is even clearer under the bare phrase-structure system (see Chomsky
1994, 1995), where there is no distinction between positions and elements that
undergo merger and merge is assumed to be a binary operation. Under these
assumptions there is no way for the computational system to simultaneously
merge two unconnected terms and to another term . Thus, the restriction
on split antecedents turns out to have more to do with PRO (the source of the
movement) than the antecedents themselves (the targets of movement).14
Before addressing how the properties in (24g) and (24h) can be accounted
for, it should be noted that PRO differs from standard pronouns, as far as
de se readings and bound readings with only are concerned. As we saw
earlier, the interpretation of a sentence such as (32a) below requires that the
unfortunate be conscious of who he is and expect himself to get a medal; hence
the addition in parentheses is infelicitous. The use of a pronoun instead of PRO
in (32b) does not trigger such a restrictive interpretation. It is compatible with
a de se reading, but also admits a non-de se interpretation. For example, it
14 At first sight, the existence of partial control (see section 2.5.2.1) and split-control (see Oded
2006 and Fujii 2006) constructions seems to be problematic for the MTC. However, as will
be discussed in sections 5.6.1 and 5.6.2 below, based on Rodrigues (2007) and Fujii (2006),
the source of the movement in these apparently problematic cases involves not unconnected
expressions, but rather complex conjunctive subjects.

50

Basic properties of the movement theory of control

admits a reading with the unfortunate expecting that some particular individual
should get a medal given what he read about this person without having the
knowledge that this individual is actually him, the unfortunate. In this scenario,
(32b) may be felicitously followed by the addition in parentheses. Similarly,
in (33) the pronoun supports the bound reading required by PRO, as well as a
coreferential reading where the sentence may be falsified if anybody remembers
that Churchill delivered the BST speech.
(32) a.
b.

[[The unfortunate]1 expects [PRO1 to get a medal]]


(#Although he doesnt expect himself to get a medal)
[[The unfortunate]1 expects [that he1 should get a medal]]
(Although he doesnt expect himself to get a medal)

(33) a.

[[Only Churchill]1 remembers [PRO1 giving the BST speech]]


(Only Churchill is such that he remembers himself giving the BST speech/

Nobody else remembers that Churchill gave the BST speech)


b. [[Only Churchill] remembers [that he gave the BST speech]]
(Only Churchill is such that he remembers himself giving the BST speech/
Nobody else remembers that Churchill gave the BST speech)

Having the contrasts in (32) and (33) in mind, let us consider how expressions
that have been assigned multiple -roles are to be interpreted. Take the control
construction in (34) below, for instance. According to the MTC, it is associated
with the (simplified) derivation in (35), where the moved DP in (35d) ends up
being marked with two -roles after moving to the thematic-subject position of
the matrix clause. The natural interpretation for the thematic relations encoded
in (35d) is expressed by the logical form given in (36).
(34)

John expected to kiss Mary

(35) a.

Applications of merge:
[to kiss Mary]
Merger of John + assignment of kisser -role:
[Johnkisser to kiss Mary]
Applications of merge:
[T expected [Johnkisser to kiss Mary]]
Movement of John + assignment of expecter -role:
[John1 expecter+kisser T expected [t1 to kiss Mary]]

b.
c.
d.
(36)

John (x [x expected x kiss Mary])

Following Reinhart (1983) and Salmon (1986), we can understand (36) as


ascribing the property of expecting oneself to kiss Mary to John.15 Importantly,
complex monadic predicates such as (36) have an inherently reflexive semantics
15 See the discussion in Grodzinsky and Reinhart (1993: 74), whence this locution is taken.

3.4 Controlled PROs as A-movement traces

51

(note the gloss above: expecting oneself to kiss Mary), thus being semantically
very different from structures where two distinct expressions have a dependency
relation. In effect, Reinhart and Salmon provide the semantic wherewithal for
distinguishing the interpretation of multiple thematic positions within a chain
(cf. [32a], [33a], and [34]) from multiple thematic positions in a dependency
relation across chains (cf. [32b] and [33b]).16 In other words, the logical forms
of (32a) and (33a) are as represented in (37) below and the logical forms of
(32b) and (33b), as in (38). Intra-chain binding is restricted to de se and bound
readings as it involves complex monadic predicates, as opposed to inter-chain
binding.17
(37) a.
b.

[The unfortunate] (x [x expected x to win a medal])


[Only Churchill] x([x remembers x giving the BST speech])

(38) a.
b.

[The unfortunate] (x [x expected that he should win a medal])


[Only Churchill] x([x remembers that he gave the BST speech])

In sum, it appears that, by analyzing OC PRO as an A-trace, the MTC can


also derive OC PROs central interpretive features, whereas this is something
tricky to capture in any model that treats OC PRO as a pronoun of sorts, as we
have seen in section 2.5.
16 The similarity in interpretation between reflexives and PRO invites us to consider analyses of
reflexivization also in terms of A-movement. See Hornstein (2001, 2007), Boeckx, Hornstein,
and Nunes (2007, 2008), and references therein for specific proposals and relevant discussion.
17 This is not the way that Reinhart (1983) interprets matters. She understands pronominal binding
as another case of -abstraction. Thus, (i) can also have the structure in (ii) in her approach,
allowing the interpretation that the property of expecting oneself to kiss Mary is attributed to
Alfred.
(i)
(ii)

Alfred1 expected that he1 would kiss Mary


Alfred (x [x expected that x would kiss Mary])

However, in contrast to (iii) below, (i) need not be interpreted in a de se manner. Moreover,
even if we replace Alfred in (i) with a quantified DP that binds the pronoun (so blocking
the option of a coreferential reading of the coindexed pronoun), as in (iv), the de se reading
is still not forced. This suggests that the binding of a pronoun does not result in a complex
monadic predicate with an inherently reflexive semantics. To put this another way, there is
an important semantic difference between a single expression binding two -positions and
two expressions each binding a -position and themselves in a binding relation. Only the
former yields a necessarily reflexive (i.e., de se) reading. For further discussion of this issue,
see Hornstein and Pietroski (2009).
(iii)
(iv)

Alfred expected PRO to kiss Mary


[Every soldier]1 expected that he1 would kiss Mary

52

Basic properties of the movement theory of control

3.4.3
Phonetic properties and grammatical status
Recall from section 2.5 that in non-movement analyses within minimalism,
PRO is a primitive lexical formative. Thus, like all of its other properties, its
lack of phonetic content is taken to be an irreducible (i.e., non-explainable)
lexical property.18 It pays to reexamine what a strange kind of lexical item PRO
is, under this view. It has virtually no properties of its own. It has no phonetic
properties and its only semantic property is that of a pure variable, in effect,
a placeholder for the interpretation of its antecedent. PRO so conceived has
even less theoretical appeal than Agr heads, as the latter are (at least) often
phonetically visible. Chomsky (1995) has argued that Agr essentially encodes
a syntactic relation and, as such, it should be understood as a grammar-internal
formative and not as a lexical head. Similar considerations apply to PRO.
Treating it as a lexical formative in fact presents more questions than answers.
In the case of its phonetic content, the stipulation that it must be phonetically empty brings with it the obvious question of why this should be so (see
section 4.5.4 below for further discussion).
In contrast to this lexical approach, its predecessors analyzed the lack of
phonetic content of the controllee as following from properties of the computational system then assumed (see sections 2.3 and 2.4). In the standard
theory, the controllee was phonetically null as it underwent a deletion transformation (the equivalent NP deletion rule). In turn, PRO in (early) GB was
analyzed as a base-generated empty category, [NP ], resulting from the phrasestructure rule NP N not followed by lexical insertion for N. In addition, if
PRO had phonetic content, it should be subject to the case filter and case
assignment operated under government. Once PRO could not be governed (the
PRO theorem), it then follows that it could not have phonetic content. All in
all, the great virtue of the standard theory and GB accounts when compared to
non-movement analyses within minimalism is that they attempted to provide a
rationale within which PROs phonetic emptiness should follow from general
considerations.

18 To reiterate: for non-movement accounts there is really no alternative within a minimalist


setting given bare phrase structure except to treat PRO as a lexical primitive. This requirement,
in turn, prevents such accounts from explaining why control clauses have the properties they
have as they must all pack the specific requirements characteristic of control clauses into
the lexical specifications of PRO. The reason that PRO needs a local antecedent is that it is
lexically specified to require one. The reason that it is phonetically null is that it is lexically
required to be so. In effect, given minimalist assumptions, a PRO-based approach to control
can at best track/describe the properties of control constructions but it cannot possibly explain
them. In this sense, contemporary PRO-based accounts are far less interesting than their GB
predecessors.

3.4 Controlled PROs as A-movement traces

53

The MTC also subscribes to the view underlying the standard theory and GB
that OC PRO is not a lexical formative, but a product of the grammar, i.e., a
trace left by an A-movement operation. Interestingly, the MTC shares specific
aspects with both the standard theory and GB. With (early) GB, it shares the
view that OC PRO and NP-traces are indistinguishable at LF. Recall from
section 2.4 that both OC PRO and NP-traces were taken to be categories of the
form [NP ], with the only difference between them being the provenance of the
index tying them to their antecedents (see Chomsky 1977: 82): for NP-traces,
the index is part of the movement operation; for PRO, it arises from a construal
rule, the rule of control.
However, the conception of PRO and NP-traces as [NP ] categories is completely at odds with the bare phrase-structure system adopted in the minimalist
program (see Chomsky 1994, 1995). A key feature of bare phrase structure is
that it dispenses with the distinction between a lexical element and the position
it occupies. Phrases are understood as projections of lexical items and are built
through successive applications of merge. Consequently, there are no lexically
unfilled positions. In fact, there is no structure other than the structures formed
by successively merging (projections of) lexical items. Thus, in a minimalist
setting, PRO and NP-traces cannot be associated with the structure [NP ], for
it is impossible to generate a phrase without a lexical head, given bare phrase
structure.
Notice that simply taking PRO and NP-traces to be associated with structures
such as [NP t] will not do either. One of the core architectural properties of the
minimalist program is the inclusiveness condition (see Chomsky 1995), which
enforces parsimony in the set of primitives proposed, by requiring that LF
objects be built based only on the features of the lexical items that feed the
derivation. The inclusiveness condition bans the creation of new objects in the
course of syntactic computations, by only allowing restricted manipulation of
the (features of the) lexical items that form syntactic structures. Under this
view, traces cannot be theoretical primitives as they are not built from items
of the lexicon, but are rather created (out of nothing) by the computation itself
(i.e., movement operations). Based on conceptual reasons such as the ones
discussed here and empirical reasons having to do with reconstruction effects,
Chomsky (1993) incorporates the copy theory of movement into the minimalist
program.19 According to the copy theory, movement amounts to copying lexical

19 For further conceptual and empirical arguments for assuming the copy theory of movement,
see e.g., Chomsky (1995), Hornstein (1995, 2001), Nunes (1995, 2004, in press), Boskovic and
Nunes (2007), the collection of papers in Corver and Nunes (2007), Kandybowicz (2009), and
references therein.

54

Basic properties of the movement theory of control

items or their projections, merging the copied material into the structure, and
deleting lower copies in the phonological component. A sentence such as (39),
for instance, is analyzed along the lines of (40), where superscripted indices
annotate copies.
(39)

John was arrested

(40) a.

Applications of merge:
[was [arrested John]]
Copying and merger of John:
[John1 [was [arrested John1 ]]]
Deletion of the lower copy in the phonological component:
[John1 [was [arrested John1 ]]]

b.
c.

Thus, if OC PRO is an NP-trace, it should also be a copy of the moved element, in compliance with the inclusiveness condition. The control construction
in (41) below, for instance, is to be derived as in (42). In other words, whatever
is independently responsible for deletion of traces (lower copies) should also
account for PROs lack of phonetic content: it is a deleted copy (see section 4.5
below for further discussion).
(41)

John hoped to see Mary

(42) a.

Applications of merge:
[T hoped [John to see Mary]]
Copying and merger of John + -assignment:
[John1 [T hoped [John1 to see Mary]]]
Deletion of the lower copy in the phonological component:
[John1 [T hoped [John1 to kiss Mary]]]

b.
c.

By taking OC PRO to be a copy resulting from movement to a thematic


position, this minimalist implementation of the MTC complies with both the
inclusiveness condition and bare phrase structure. Copies replicate lexical items
or syntactic objects built from lexical items and deletion of copies takes place
in the phonological component. That is, as far as the syntactic computation
goes, PRO is neither a phrase with no lexical head, nor a phrase headed by
an entity that is not a lexical item. It is either a lexical item or a phrase built
from lexical items, which gets deleted in the phonological component. In other
words, this minimalist implementation of the MTC not only accounts for the
distribution, interpretation, and lack of phonetic content of OC PRO, but in fact
paves the way to the elimination of PRO as an exotic lexical primitive, thereby
simplifying the general apparatus of the model.
In a sense, the deletion operation in (42c) can be viewed as a descendant of the equi-NP deletion rule of the standard theory, now generalized to

3.4 Controlled PROs as A-movement traces

55

constructions other than control. Importantly, it differs from its predecessor


in being able to correctly account for the meaning difference between (43a)
and (43b) below. Recall from section 2.3 that, by relying on phonetic identity,
the equi-NP deletion rule should derive (43a) from the structure corresponding to (43b), incorrectly predicting that the two sentences should have the
same meaning.
(43) a.
b.

Everyone wants to win


Everyone wants everyone to win

By contrast, the deletion operation seen in (40c) and (42c) deals with copies
and not simply with elements that happen to have the same phonological
shape.20 Under this view, the sentences in (43) are respectively associated with
the structures in (44).
(44) a.
b.

[Everyone1 T wants [everyone1 to win]]


[Everyone2 T wants [everyone1 to win]]

We have two copies of everyone in (44a), but two distinct occurrences of


everyone in (44b). In other words, the numeration underlying (44a) has only
one instance of everyone, which is merged in the embedded clause and later
copied to be merged in the matrix clause. By contrast, the numeration underlying (44b) has two instances of everyone, each of which is merged in a
different clause. When shipped to the phonological component, the structures
in (44) will then receive different treatment despite their superficial similarity.
That is, deletion will target the lower copy of everyone in (44a), as shown in
(45) below, but not the second independent occurrence of everyone in (44b).
(45) then surfaces as (43a) and is interpreted as a complex monadic predicate,
as discussed in section 3.4.2. By contrast, (44b) surfaces as (43b) and each
quantifier ranges over a different variable.
(45)

[Everyone1 T wants [everyone1 to win]]

To sum up, we have mentioned earlier that the MTC accords well with
the general features of the minimalist program. In addition to the required
abandonment of DS, we have seen in this section that the implementation of the
MTC in terms of the copy theory complies with the inclusiveness condition and
20 As Chomsky (1995: 227) points out, the syntactic objects formed by distinct applications of
Select to LI [lexical item] must be distinguished; two occurrences of the pronoun he, for
example, may have entirely different properties at LF.

56

Basic properties of the movement theory of control

bare phrase structure. More importantly, by sticking to these core minimalist


precepts, the version of the MTC outlined here not only accounted for the
distribution, interpretation, and lack of phonetic content of OC PRO, but ended
up eliminating PRO as a primitive of the grammar. This substantial result will
be strengthened further as we examine its empirical consequences in the next
chapters.21

3.5

Conclusion

As mentioned in section 2.2, an adequate theory of control must meet (at least)
the following four requirements. First, it must enumerate the kinds of control
structures, specifying if and why obligatory control (OC) and non-obligatory
control (NOC) are different. Second, it must account for the distributional
properties of control, explaining why the controlled element appears where it
does. Third, it must account for the interpretation of the controlled element,
showing how PROs antecedent is determined and what kind of anaphoric
relation obtains between PRO and its antecedent in OC and NOC structures.
And fourth, it must determine the nature of the controlled element, specifying its place among the inventory of null expressions provided by universal
grammar.
In this chapter, we outlined the broad features of (our version of) the MTC,
paying exclusive attention to OC (we return to NOC in Chapter 6 below). The
version of the MTC explored here borrows liberally from the insights of its
predecessors (see Chapter 2). Like EST and GB, it treats the controlled element in OC contexts as a non-lexical formative (more precisely, as a residue
of movement). Like EST, it also adopts the minimal-distance principle, in
fact deriving it in terms of relativized minimality (see section 5.5 below for
more detailed discussion). However, in contrast to (virtually all) earlier theories that strictly distinguished raising from control, the MTC insists that
these are both formed via the same grammatical operation, namely move.
This is made possible by the renunciation of one assumption that has been
held constant since the earliest days of generative grammar: we give up the
assumption that movement into -positions is impossible. This is in many
21 For instance, Nunes (1999, 2004) has argued that in certain well-defined circumstances, the
phonological component may realize a lower copy instead of the head of the chain or even
multiple copies. If this is correct, we should in principle expect to find OC constructions (under
the relevant circumstances) with the OC PRO copy phonetically realized. We return to specific
cases in sections 4.5.3 and 4.5.4 below.

3.5 Conclusion

57

ways the key innovative feature of MTC, although it is not specific to it,22 and
we will see in the next chapters that this innovation has some nice empirical
consequences.
The specific answers provided by (our version of) the MTC to the questions above are the following. First, the core case of control is obligatory
control (OC). OC is an instance of A-movement. The controlled element is the
residue of A-movement. The only difference between the A-movement found
in control configurations and that found in more familiar cases of raising and
passive is that the one that occurs in control moves the DP through multiple
-positions. In all other respects, it is the same operation in both instances and
the traces/copies left behind are expected to be indistinguishable from one
another. As we will discuss in detail in Chapter 6 below, the other species of
control is non-obligatory control (NOC), which amounts to the elsewhere case,
occurring when movement cannot take place.
Second, given that OC PRO is a residue of A-movement, it can only appear
in positions from which A-movement is possible. It is well known that subjects
can A-move from non-finite clauses (not only infinitives and gerunds, but also
-defective finite clauses as discussed in section 2.5.2.4). Thus, PRO can occur
as the subject of these kinds of clauses.
Third, OC amounts to the formation of a multiply -marked A-chain and is
interpreted as standard A-chains are. Taking a page out of the GB playbook, we
assume with Chomsky (1981) that A-traces and reflexives are both anaphors.
Thus, the controlled element in OC contexts should be interpreted essentially
like a locally bound anaphor. Moreover, as the controlled element is simply a
residue of A-movement, its antecedent is simply the element that has moved
from that position. In short, it is the head of the (multiply -marked) A-chain
of which it is a link. The possible antecedents for OC PRO are then defined in
terms of the positions to which the controllee can move. Indeed, given that
A-movement is subject to strict locality conditions, we expect OC to be subject
to these locality restrictions as well. We will see ample evidence for this in the
next chapters.
Finally, under the copy theory of movement, OC PRO is a copy left by
a movement operation, which is later deleted in the phonological component. So OC PRO does not surface with phonetic content for the same reasons that traces/lower copies do not. Thus, the MTC allows a considerable
22 For instance, sideward movement to thematic positions is argued to be involved in the derivation
of parasitic gap and ATB constructions (see Nunes 1995, 2001, 2004; Hornstein 2001; and
Hornstein and Nunes 2002). See section 4.5.1 below for relevant discussion.

58

Basic properties of the movement theory of control

simplification in the grammar by eliminating OC PRO as a theoretical primitive, as well as parts of the control module responsible for its interpretation (on
NOC, see Chapter 6 below).
The most appealing feature of the MTC for us is the fact that the theory
not only provides a principled account for PROs distribution, but the account
it provides for the syntactic distribution of OC PRO immediately extends to
cover most (if not all) of OC PROs interpretive properties. This makes the
MTC rather unique given that other current approaches to control treat these
two facets of PRO as quite unrelated. This all seems too good to be true, but
we assure the reader that the following chapters will show that MTC is indeed
even more successful than we have made it seem in this chapter.

4 Empirical advantages

4.1

Introduction

In this chapter we explore some empirical consequences of (our version of) the
MTC. We start by discussing the welcome results one obtains by assuming that
OC PRO is a trace of A-movement, regardless of the view on traces one takes.
We will see that OC PRO and standard A-traces pattern alike in being invisible to some morphological computations (section 4.2), being transparent for
interclausal agreement (section 4.3), and being allowed in the subject position
of finite clauses when the finite T is not an obligatory case assigner/checker
(section 4.4). Next, we discuss empirical consequences of the MTC when the
copy theory of movement is taken into consideration. In particular, we will
discuss cases where an OC PRO behaves like an overt element in being subject
to morphological restrictions (section 4.5.2), cases where OC PROs are phonetically realized (see section 4.5.3 on backward control and section 4.5.4 on
copy control), and cases where OC PROs are traces of sideward movement,
i.e., movement from one tree to another independent tree (see section 4.5.1
on adjunct control). Finally, section 4.6 presents our conclusion that the data
covered by the MTC discussed in this chapter prove fatal for any PRO-based
account of OC.
4.2

Morphological invisibility

It has long been observed that PRO differs from A-traces in not blocking sandhi
phenomena, the most well-known example of such being wanna-contraction in
English, as illustrated in (1) and (2).1
(1)

[Who1 do you want PRO to banish t1 from the room]


Who do you wanna banish from the room?

1 For relevant discussion, see e.g., Lightfoot (1976), Postal and Pullum (1978), Jaeggli (1980),
Boeckx (2000), and references therein.

59

60

Empirical advantages

(2)

[Who1 do you want t1 to vanish from the room]


Who do you wanna vanish from the room?

Interestingly, as has been known since Lightfoot (1976), A-traces also allow
contraction:
(3) a.
b.
c.

[John1 is going t1 to kiss Mary] John is gonna kiss Mary


[John1 used t1 to kiss Mary] John usta kiss Mary
[John1 has t1 to kiss Mary] John hasta kiss Mary

The parallel behavior of PRO and A-traces in licensing contraction is exactly


what is predicted by the MTC, regardless of what the correct analysis for this
contrast between A- and A-traces is. Take, for instance, the influential proposal
that the contrast has to do with case (see e.g., Jaeggli 1980), that is, case-marked
elements block contraction, but caseless elements do not. If OC PRO is an Atrace, as advocated by the MTC, it must sit in a caseless position and, therefore,
should not prevent contraction under this view. Moreover, as observed by
Boeckx (2000), if the case-based account of the contrast between (1)/(3) and
(2) turns out to be correct, it poses serious questions for any approach to control
that takes OC PRO to be case marked, be it in terms of null case (see e.g., Martin
2001) or in terms of regular case (see e.g., Landau 2004).
The MTC also accounts for superficially similar constructions such as (4)
(from Postal and Pullum 1978), where contraction cannot take place.
(4)
[I dont want [[PRO to undress in public] to become standard practice]]

I dont wanna undress in public to become standard practice

Notice that the infinitival clause in (4) is in the subject position of the embedded
clause. In other words, it is a subject island and should prevent movement from
the position occupied by PRO. From the perspective of the MTC, that amounts
to saying that the empty category occupying the subject position of the infinitival
clause in (4) cannot be an OC PRO/A-trace (see Chapter 6 below). Given that
only A-traces are invisible for purposes of contraction, the contrast between
(1) and (4) now follows straightforwardly.
4.3

Interclausal agreement

OC PRO and A-traces also pattern alike in triggering agreement in their local
domain, matching the features of their antecedent.2 Take case concord, for
2 Although this is the general pattern, there are well-known cases (also in Latin) where an OC
PRO seems to mismatch the features of its antecedent. We postpone the discussion of these
potentially problematic cases to section 5.4.2 below, where we show that the problems are either
apparent or are due to independent factors.

4.3 Interclausal agreement

61

instance. As discussed by Cecchetto and Oniga (2004), in languages with rich


case morphology such as Latin, an adjectival predicate agrees with the subject
in case (as well as in number and gender), as illustrated in (5a) below. Under
the standard assumption that copular constructions involve raising from the
embedded predicate, (5a) is to be represented as in (5b).
(5)
a.

b.

Latin (Cecchetto and Oniga 2004):


Ego
sum bonus
I.NOM am good.NOM
I am good
[TP egoi sum [SC ti bonus]]

What is relevant for our discussion is that similar case agreement is also
found in OC PRO clauses, as shown in (6a) with subject control and (6b) with
object control.
(6)
a.

b.

Latin (Cecchetto and Oniga 2004):


[Ego volo [PRO esse bonus]]
I.NOM want
to-be good.NOM
I want to be good
[Ego iubeo te
[PRO esse bonum]]
I.NOM order you.ACC
to-be good.ACC
I command you to be good

The embedded adjectival predicate exhibits nominative case in (6a) and


accusative case in (6b). This follows if PRO is not case marked within the
embedded clause. If it were, we would have to make the awkward assumption that the infinitival T-head in Latin assigns either nominative or accusative
depending on the kind of control involved (subject or object control). As pointed
out by Cecchetto and Oniga, case matching of the type illustrated in (6) is thus
problematic for any approach that takes PRO to be a bearer of structural case.
By contrast, the agreement pattern exhibited in (6) is exactly what is expected
under the MTC. If the OC PROs in (6) are actually A-traces, as respectively
represented in (7) below, they should pattern like the A-trace of (5b). In other
words, the embedded predicates in (7) must agree with the antecedent of the
trace in the subject position of the infinitival clause.
(7) a.
b.

[Egoi volo [ti esse bonus]]


[Ego iubeo tei [ti esse bonum]]

It should be clear that our point here is not to debate on how to technically capture the agreement relation between the embedded predicate and the antecedent
of the trace in (5b) and (7). For concreteness, we may assume that the embedded
predicate surfaces the way it does because it is in agreement relation with a

62

Empirical advantages

link of the chain headed by ego in (5b) and (7a) and te in (7b) or that the
trace in a local agreement relation with the embedded predicate is a copy of
the moved element. What should be borne in mind is that, from the perspective
of the MTC, whatever the technical analysis is that enforces case matching in
(5b), it must also apply to (7).
The requirement of interclausal agreement in raising and OC configurations
also holds of -features, as discussed by Rodrigues (2004, 2007) with respect to
gender. Rodrigues examines the agreement pattern triggered by nouns such as
the Romance counterpart of victim, which is invariably [+feminine], regardless of whether it refers to males or females. In the raising constructions in
(8), for instance, the adjectival predicates take the feminine form even in the
context where a man has been hurt.
(8) a.

b.

Italian (Rodrigues 2004):


La vittima sembra essere ferita/ ferito
The victim seems be
injured.FEM/injured.MASC
Brazilian Portuguese (Rodrigues 2004):
A vtima parece estar ferida/ ?ferido
The victim seems be injured.FEM/injured.MASC
The victim seems to be injured

The agreement seen in (8) is replicated in OC constructions such as (9), but not
in non-OC constructions such as (10), again in a context where the victim is a
male.
(9) a.

Italian (Rodrigues 2004):


La vittima ha cercato di essere trasferita/??trasferito
The victim had tried of be
transferred.FEM/transferred.MASC
alla stazione di polizia di College Park
to-the station of police of College Park

b.

Brazilian Portuguese (Rodrigues 2004):


A vtima tentou ser transferida/??transferido
para a
The victim tried be transferred.FEM/transferred.MASC to the
delegacia de polcia de College Park
station of police of College Park
The victim tried to be transferred to the police station at College Park

(10) a.

Italian (Rodrigues 2004):


La vittima ha detto che essere portata/portato
alla
The victim has said that be
brought.FEM/brought.MASC to-the
stazione di polizia non era una buona idea
station of police not was a good idea
The victim said that being brought to the police station was not a good idea

4.4 Finite control


b.

63

Brazilian Portuguese (Rodrigues 2004):


A vtima disse que ser ??transferida/transferido
para
The victim said that be transferred.FEM/transferred.MASC to
outra cidade nao e uma boa ideia
other city
not is a
good idea
The victim said that being transferred to another city is not a good idea

As Rodrigues notes, the agreement contrast between OC and NOC in (9) and
(10) requires non-trivial provisos under a PRO-based analysis of control. From
a purely formal point of view, PRO should have a uniform behavior regarding
agreement. In other words, in both types of constructions PRO should either be
the element triggering agreement with the embedded predicate (independently
from its antecedent) or be transparent to interclausal agreement. Thus, the fact
that the null subject of the infinitival clause of the sentences of (9) and (10)
does not have a uniform behavior suggests that we are not dealing with the
same type of empty category in these constructions.
Rodrigues further points out that the MTC, on the other hand, provides
a straightforward account of the contrast between (9) and (10). In (9) we
have OC (more specifically, subject control). Thus, the null subject inside the
infinitival is an A-trace and, as such, it should pattern with the A-trace in
the embedded subject position of the raising constructions in (8). Hence, we
have a transparent domain for interclausal agreement in (9) and the agreement
morphology on the embedded predicate must match the gender feature of the
antecedent of the embedded subject. Again, this should be so independently of
the specific analysis one assumes for interclausal agreement in standard raising
constructions. The sentences in (10), on the other hand, cannot be analyzed as
involving A-traces in the subject of the infinitival clause, as the infinitival is a
subject island. Once (10) cannot be analyzed in terms of A-traces, interclausal
agreement is blocked and the embedded predicate takes an (arguably default)
masculine form.
4.4

Finite control

As we saw in detail in section 2.5.2, Landaus (2004) Agree-based approach to


control faces several problems. It resorts to various stipulations regarding the
features employed to track the distribution of PRO and the system of composite
agreement relations proposed to account for the interpretation of PRO, in
addition to not being independently motivated, leads to overgeneration. In this
section, we will pay closer attention to a salient undergeneration problem of
Landaus system, which we believe provides decisive evidence in favor of the
MTC, namely, the existence of control into indicative clauses.

64

Empirical advantages

Recall that the typology of control structures predicted by Landaus system


given in (11) below (from Landau 2004: 840; cf. [39] in Chapter 2) explicitly
blocks OC into indicative clauses. In his own words (pp. 849850), the only
generalization in this domain that appears to be universal is the incompatibility
of indicative clauses with OC.
(11)

Obligatory control
Hebrew
3rd-person
subjunctive

No control

EC-infinitive

Balkan Csubjunctive

PC-infinitive

I0

[T, Agr]

[T, +Agr] [+T, +Agr] [+T, Agr]

C0

[T]

[T]

Balkan
indicative
F-subjunctive
[+T, +Agr]

[+T, +Agr] [+T, (+Agr)] [+T, +Agr]

[+T, +Agr]

However, we have seen that null subjects in finite indicative clauses in


Brazilian Portuguese display all the diagnostics for OC (see section 2.5.2.2).
In a sentence such as (12) below, for instance, the embedded subject can only
be interpreted as controlled by the most local c-commanding DP, namely, so
o irmao do Joao only Joaos brother. Furthermore, the null subject has only
a bound interpretation, only licenses sloppy readings under ellipsis, and must
receive a de se reading in the appropriate contexts.3
(12)

Brazilian Portuguese:
[[O Pedro]i disse [que [so o irmao d[o Joaok ]]m estava achando
The Pedro said that only the brother of-the Joao
was thinking
[que m/ i/ k/ w deveria ganhar uma medalha]]]
that
should receive a
medal
Pedro said that [only Joaos brother]m was thinking that hem should get a
medal

Once finite control into indicative clauses is empirically attested in Brazilian


Portuguese, one has to determine which special property allows it and why
it is considerably rare from a crosslinguistic point of view. As discussed in
section 2.5.2.4, Ferreira (2000, 2004, 2009) has proposed that indicative Ts
in Brazilian Portuguese are ambiguous in that they may be associated with a
complete or an incomplete -set. Nunes (2007, 2008a) has reinterpreted this
ambiguity in terms of how the person and number features of T are combined
in the course of the computation. More specifically, Nunes proposes that finite
Ts in Brazilian Portuguese may enter the numeration specified for number
and person or for number only. When T is only specified for number, wellformedness conditions in the morphological component trigger the addition
3 See Ferreira (2000, 2004, 2009) and Rodrigues (2002, 2004) for a discussion of these properties
of null subjects in Brazilian Portuguese in the context of the MTC.

4.4 Finite control

65

of the feature person in accordance to the redundancy rule sketched in (13)


below. Crucially, the paradigm of verbal-agreement morphology in (colloquial)
Brazilian Portuguese given in (14) (cf. [56] in Chapter 2) is such that the only
form that distinctively encodes person and number is the syncretic inflection
for first-person singular; the other two inflections involve a default value (third)
for the person feature.
(13)

(14)

When T is only specified for number (N):


(i) Add [P:1], if N is valued as SG;
(ii) otherwise, add [P:default].
Verbal-agreement paradigm in (colloquial) Brazilian
Portuguese
cantar to sing: indicative present
eu I

canto

P:1; N:SG

voce you (SG)


ele he
ela she
a gente we

canta

P:default; N:default (= 3SG)

voces you (PL)


eles they (MASC)
elas they (FEM)

cantam

P:default; N:PL (= 3PL)

Thus, the three different verbal inflections available in (14) can be obtained
in two ways: (i) T is specified for both person and number throughout the
derivation, as in (15); or (ii) T is only specified for number and the feature
person is associated with T in the morphological component in accordance
with (13), as shown in (16) (cf. [57] in Chapter 2).
(15)

cantar to sing: indicative present


Valuation of T in the syntactic component

Surface form of the verb

P:1; N:SG

canto

P:default; N:default

canta

P:default; N:PL

cantam

(16)

cantar to sing: indicative present


Valuation of T in the
syntactic component

Addition of [person] in the


morphological component

Surface form
of the verb

N:SG

P:1; N:SG

canto

N:default

P:default; N:default

canta

N:PL

P:default; N:PL

cantam

66

Empirical advantages

Under this view, the derivation of a sentence such as (17), for instance,
proceeds along the lines of (18) (with English words for convenience).
(17)

Brazilian Portuguese:
O Joao disse que comprou um carro novo
The Joao said that bought a car new
Joao said that he bought a new car

(18) a.
b.
c.
d.
e.

[TP T[N:u]/EPP [vP Joao[case:u] buy- a new car]]


[TP Joao[case:u] T[N:default]/EPP [vP t buy- a new car]]
[vP Joao[case:u] said [CP that [TP t T[N:default]/EPP [vP t buy- a new car]]]]
[TP T[P:u; N:u]/EPP [vP Joao[case:u] said [CP that [TP t T[N:default]/EPP . . . ]]]]
[TP Joao[case:NOM] T[P:default; N:default]/EPP [vP t said [CP that . . . ]]]

The past indicative T in (18a) comes from the numeration with just a number
feature, which gets valued (as default) after agreeing with Joao, as shown
in (18b). In the morphological component, a default person feature is added
to T and the embedded verb surfaces with the third-person singular form
comprou (cf. [17]). Given that only a -complete T is able to check/value
the case feature on a DP (Chomsky 2000, 2001), Joao remains active after
agreeing with the -incomplete T in (18b). It may then raise to the matrix [Spec,
vP], where it receives an additional -role, yielding (18c). The next finite T to
enter the derivation comes from the numeration with a complete -set (person
and number), as shown in (18d). It then agrees with Joao, valuing its case
feature and having its own features valued, as illustrated in (18e).
The advantages of this analysis of OC into indicative clauses in Brazilian
Portuguese in terms of -incompleteness are twofold. First, not only does it
allow us to incorporate Brazilian Portuguese into the picture, but it also makes
it possible to considerably simplify the calculus of control, as Landau calls
it. Whether or not a given clausal structure allows for OC may be determined
solely based on the tense and -feature properties of T, as shown in (19) (cf. [58]
in Chapter 2), where + stands for fully specified and for deficient or null.
(19)

Obligatory control
[T

untensed
uninflected
infinitives,
etc.

[T

tensed uninflected
infinitives, Brazilian
Portuguese
indicatives, Hebrew
3rd-person
subjunctives, etc.

No control
[T

Balkan untensed
subjunctives,
etc.

[T+ , + ]
English
indicatives,
Balkan tensed
subjunctives,
etc.

4.4 Finite control

67

As mentioned in section 2.5.2.4, the simplification of (11) as in (19) also


eliminates the conceptually suspicious ambiguity of the composite C[+T, +Agr]
I[+T, +Agr] in Landaus system, which is used to describe both OC in Hebrew
subjunctives and no control in Balkan F(ree)-subjunctives. Given that OC in
Hebrew subjunctives is restricted to third person, as argued by Landau, a natural
analysis of Hebrew constructions such as (20) below, for instance, is to take
the T-head of their subjunctive clauses to be also ambiguous with respect to
how person and number features are associated. In other words, like Brazilian
Portuguese indicative Ts, Hebrew subjunctive Ts may enter the derivation fully
specified for person and number or specified for just number and receive a
default (third) person in the morphological component.
(20)

Hebrew (Landau 2004):


Gili hivtiax [se- eci yitnaheg yafe]
Gil promised that will-behave.3SG.M well
Gil promised to behave

In fact, the parallel between Hebrew subjunctives and Brazilian Portuguese


indicatives is even clearer if we consider the idiolectal variation in Brazilian
Portuguese illustrated in (21):
(21)
a.

Brazilian Portuguese (Nunes 2008a):


Eu falei
que %(eu) comi
o bolo
I spoke.1SG that I
ate.1SG the cake
I said that I ate the cake

b.

Voce/ele/a gente falou


que (voce/ele/a gente) comeu o bolo
you.SG/he/we spoke.3SG that you.SG/he/we
ate.3SG the cake
You(SG)/he/we said that you(SG)/he/we ate the cake

c.

Voces/eles falaram
que (voces/eles) comeram o bolo
You.PL/they spoke.3PL that you.PL/they ate.3PL the cake
You(PL)/they said that you(PL)/they ate the cake

In (21ac), the embedded and the matrix subjects are coreferential. For
all speakers of BP, the realization of the embedded subjects in (21b) and
(21c), which trigger default (third-person) agreement, is truly optional. By
contrast, a good number of speakers prefer an overt pronoun when the embedded
subject triggers first-person agreement (cf. [21a]).4 Nunes (2008a) attributes
this idiolectal variation to the presence or absence of the specification of the
redundancy rule in (13i) across speakers grammars. For speakers who do not
4 Duarte (1995, 2000) shows that the percentage of null subjects with third person is significantly
much higher than with first person in both spoken and written corpora of Brazilian Portuguese.

68

Empirical advantages

have (13i) in their grammars, finite control into indicatives is like what we find
in Hebrew subjunctives: it is only possible with subjects that trigger (default)
third-person agreement.
The second advantage of the analysis of OC into indicatives in Brazilian
Portuguese in terms of -incompleteness is that it makes it possible to understand why this subtype of OC is rare from a crosslinguistic point of view. Since
the incorporation of the case theory into GB, it has been standardly assumed
that there is a strong correlation between finiteness and the presence of a full
-set. The unmarked situation is for finite Ts to be -complete ([T+ , + ])
and for non-finite Ts to be -incomplete ([T , ]). However, the correlation,
albeit strong, is not absolute. Although patterns with opposite values for T
and are not garden-variety species across languages, they do exist. Witness,
for instance, inflected infinitivals such as (22) below in Portuguese, where the
subject is licensed with nominative case within the infinitival,5 and porous
subjunctives such as (23) in Greek, where the embedded subject can leave the
subjunctive clause and undergo A-movement to the matrix-subject position.6
Thus, the fact that OC into indicative clauses is rather uncommon is related to
the marked character of mismatches between T and with respect to full specification; in the case of indicative OC, we have the mismatching specification
[T+ , ], as seen in (19).
(22)

Brazilian Portuguese:
Eles ganharem o jogo foi realmente uma surpresa
They win.INF.3PL the game was really
a
surprise
Their winning the game was a real surprise

(23)

Greek (Alexiadou and Anagnostopoulou 1998):


Ta pedhia dhen fenonte na
doulevoun
The children not seem.3PL SUBJ work.3PL
The children do not seem to work

Bearing this in mind, let us now consider why finite control provides convincing evidence in favor of the MTC. As is well known, A-movement from
5 See e.g., Raposo (1987, 1989), Martins (2001), and Pires (2006) for relevant discussion.
6 See e.g., Varlokosta (1993), Terzi (1997), Alexiadou and Anagnostopoulou (1998), Roussou
(2001), and Boeckx (2003, 2008) for relevant discussion. On other cases of raising out of
subjunctive clauses, see e.g., Uchibori (2000) for Japanese and Uriagereka (2006) for Romance.
A-movement in (23) is consistent with last resort if the subject has not been case-licensed in the
embedded clause, as happens in finite control in Brazilian Portuguese (cf. [18]). Alternatively,
Boeckx (2003, 2008) argues that the reason movement can take place out of defective finite
domains is that a chain can be extended up to its point of maximal checking, which in the case of
A-chains is defined in terms of [T+ , + ] (see Richards 2001 and Rizzi 2006 for related ideas).

4.4 Finite control

69

subject positions typically takes place from non-finite, uninflected clauses, as


illustrated by the contrast in (24).
(24) a.
b.

John is likely [t to be home]


John is likely [t is home]

However, there are indeed cases where a finite (inflected) subjunctive clause
does not block A-movement, as we have just seen in (23). Boeckx (2003, 2008)
argues that the relevant property that renders a given domain porous to Amovement is its deficiency with respect to -features (cf. [24a]) or with respect
to tense (cf. [23]). That being so, the picture in (19) can in fact be subsumed
under the more general table in (25) (cf. [59] in Chapter 2).
(25)

A-movement:

A-movement:

[T , ]

[T+ , ]

[T , + ]

untensed
uninflected
infinitives,
etc.

tensed uninflected
infinitives,
Brazilian
Portuguese
indicatives,
Hebrew 3rd-person
subjunctives, etc.

Balkan untensed
subjunctives,
etc.

[T+ , + ]
English
indicatives,
Balkan tensed
subjunctives,
etc.

In other words, the MTC predicts that modulo idiosyncrasies of selection


by a matrix predicate, if the relevant Infl head of a given domain is negatively
specified for T or , it should allow both control and raising constructions.7 In
7 It is interesting to note in this context that control is sometimes much more well behaved
than raising. As Mark Baker pointed out to us (personal communication), Kinande control
structures behave as usual, with person/number/class agreement on the matrix verb, and infinitival
morphology on the embedded verb, as illustrated in (i) below. Raising constructions such as (ii),
on the other hand, have matching person/number/case agreement on both the matrix and the
embedded verbs.
(i)

Kinande (Mark Baker, personal communication):


Mo-tw-a-gan-ire
eri-seny-a
olukwi
AFF.1PS.T.refuse.EXT INF.chop.FV wood
We refused to chop the wood

(ii)
a.

b.

Kinande (Mark Baker, personal communication):


Tu-li-nga mo-tw-a-na-gend-ire
1PS.be-if AFF.1PS.T.INDEED.go.EXT
We seem to have left
Ebitsungu bi-li-nga mo-by-a-huk-ir-w-e
potatoes.8 8.be-if AFF.8.T.cook.PASS.EXT
The potatoes seem to have been cooked

So Kinande raising seems to flout the generalization that -complete agreement freezes the
relevant DP.

70

Empirical advantages

the sections that follow we show that this prediction is indeed borne out and
explore some of its consequences.
4.4.1
Finite control and hyper-raising
It is a well-known fact that languages such as Greek and Romanian resort to
subjunctive clauses for both control and raising constructions, as respectively
illustrated in (26) and (27) below.8 Assuming with Boeckx (2003, 2008) that Tdeficient or -deficient domains are transparent for purposes of A-movement,
the paradigm in (26) and (27) is exactly what the MTC leads us to expect.
If these subjunctives are specified as T , as argued by Landau (2004), they
should not block A-movement. Whether we obtain a control or a hyper-raising
construction (in the sense of Ura 1994) then depends on whether the embedded
subject moves first to a -position, as in (26), or directly to the matrix [Spec,
TP], as in (27).
(26) a.

b.

(27) a.

b.

Greek (Terzi 1997):


I
Maria prospathise na
divasi
The Maria tried.3SG SUBJ read.3SG
Maria tried to read
Romanian (Dobrovie-Sorin 1994):
Ion vrea
sa
plece
devreme mine
Ion want.3SG SUBJ leave.3SG early
tomorrow
Ion wants to leave early tomorrow
Greek (Alexiadou and Anagnostopoulou 1998):
Ta pedhia dhen fenonte na
doulevoun
The children not seem.3PL SUBJ work.3PL
The children do not seem to work
Romanian (Dobrovie-Sorin 1994):
Copiii tai par
sa
fie
foarte obositi
Children your seem.3PL SUBJ be.3PL very tired
Your children seem to be very tired

However, it is fair to concede that one could reasonably argue that the
paradigm in (26)(27) is only consistent with the MTC and not a knockout argument in its favor, for the pattern in (26)(27) is associated with a
morphological gap in these languages, namely, the lack of true infinitival
However, as Baker notes, tense marking cannot go on seem in (ii), but a full range of tense
morphemes is possible on the embedded verb. This suggests that raising in (ii) may actually
involve an inflected modal adjunct. For alternatives to reconciling raising in Bantu and the
strong-agreement freezing effect, see Henderson (2006) and Boeckx (2008).
8 See e.g., Varlokosta (1993), Terzi (1997), Alexiadou and Anagnostopoulou (1998), and Roussou
(2001) on Greek and Grosu and Horvath (1984), Dobrovie-Sorin (1994), and Alboiu (2007) on
Romanian.

4.4 Finite control

71

morphology (in these contexts). So one could say that at an abstract level
these are infinitival constructions in the syntactic component and we are back
to square one as to what the best theory to account for infinitival OC is. In this
regard, Brazilian Portuguese provides us with the relevant test case, as it does
not lack infinitives (in fact, it has both the uninflected and the inflected varieties), but allows OC into indicatives, as discussed earlier. As the MTC predicts,
it also allows hyper-raising out of indicative clauses, as illustrated in (28b).9
(28)
a.

b.

Brazilian Portuguese (Ferreira 2000, Nunes 2008a):


Parece/acabou
que os estudantes viajaram
mais cedo
Seem.3SG/finished.3SG that the students traveled.3PL more early
It seems/turned out that the students traveled earlier
Os estudantes parecem/acabaram
que viajaram
mais cedo
The students seem.3PL/finished.3PL that traveled.3PL more early
The students seem to have traveled earlier/The students ended up
traveling earlier

The hyper-raising constructions in (28) are derived along the lines of (29)
(again with English words, for convenience).
(29) a.
b.
c.
d.

[TP T[N:u]/EPP [vP [the students][case:u] traveled earlier]]


[TP [the students][case:u] T[N:PL]/EPP [vP t traveled earlier]]
TP T[P:u; N:u]/EPP [vP seem/turned out [CP that [TP [the students][case:u]
T[N:PL]/EPP . . . ]]]
[TP [the students][case:NOM] T[P:default; N:PL]/EPP [vP t seem/turned out
[CP that . . . ]]]

If the embedded T in (29a) were fully specified with respect to -features, the
subject would have been case licensed in the embedded clause, yielding an
impersonal construction, as seen in (28a). However, this is not what happens in
(29a). T is associated only with number and the subject does not have its case
valued after agreeing with T, as shown in (29b). After further computations, a
fully inflected T is selected, as shown in (29c), and enters into an agreement
relation with the embedded subject, allowing all unvalued features to be valued,
as represented in (29d).10 Notice that, although both the matrix and the embedded verb surface in the third-person plural form (cf. [28b]), they differ with
9 See Ferreira (2000, 2004, 2009), Duarte (2004), Martins and Nunes (2005, in press), and Nunes
(2007, 2008a) for relevant discussion.
10 It is worth pointing out that, although finite control and hyper-raising constructions necessarily
involve a -incomplete finite T in the embedded clause and -complete finite T in the matrix
clause, nothing need be stipulated to ensure this result. The asymmetry between matrix and
embedded clauses is trivially derived from UG principles (see Ferreira 2000, 2004, 2009 for
discussion). Although both -complete and -incomplete finite Ts are legitimate options for any

72

Empirical advantages

respect to how this specification is carried out. The matrix T verb enters the
numeration with person and number features, which then get trivially valued in
the syntactic component through Agree. The embedded T, on the other hand,
only has a number feature as it enters in the derivation. After being valued in the
syntactic component, the number feature is then combined with a default person specification in the morphological component in accordance with (13ii).
Independent evidence for the derivation sketched in (29) is provided by the
sentences in (30), which show that idiom chunks, which are generally resistant
to A-movement, can also appear in hyper-raising constructions.11
(30)
a.

b.

Brazilian Portuguese (Martins and Nunes 2005, in press):


[a vaca]i acabou que ti foi pro brejo
The cow finished that went to-the swamp
Idiomatic reading: It turned out that things went bad
[o pau]i parece que ti comeu feio
The stick seems that ate
ugly
It seems that there was a big discussion/fight

Notice that the only relevant difference between the derivation involving OC
into finite clauses discussed earlier (cf. [18]) and the derivation of hyper-raising
constructions sketched in (29) is that, in the latter, the matrix light verb does
not have another -role to assign and the embedded subject moves directly
to the matrix [Spec, TP].12 But putting aside this independent difference, the
MTC predicts that the two types of constructions should go hand in hand. In
this regard, consider the Brazilian Portuguese data in (31)(32), discussed in
Nunes (2008a).
given numeration in Brazilian Portuguese, UG principles determine whether or not the choice
and the structural locus of a -incomplete finite T give rise to a convergent derivation. If the
matrix clause is associated with a -incomplete finite T, there is no source of case assignment
for the matrix subject and the derivation simply crashes. In other words, a -incomplete finite T
will only yield a convergent derivation if it sits within an embedded clause, being no different
from other types of -incomplete Ts, such as the infinitival T-head of standard raising and OC
constructions.
11 See Ferreira (2000), Martins and Nunes (2005, in press), and Nunes (2007, 2008a) for additional
independent evidence.
12 Technical questions arise regarding phase-based computations. The matrix vP in (29) does not
count as a (strong) phase as its head is not a transitive light verb (see Chomsky 2000, 2001).
But what about the embedded CP? Should it not count as a phase and block movement of the
embedded subject?
Several different answers have been proposed to address this potential problem (see Ferreira
2000; Rodrigues 2004; Nunes 2007, 2008a; and Martins and Nunes in press). For purposes
of the current discussion, it suffices to assume with Ferreira (2000) that a C-head that selects
for a -incomplete TP does not count as a strong phase head; hence, the embedded CP in
(28b)/(29) does not count as a phase, as the head of its complement bears only a number feature
(cf. [29a]). We return to this issue in section 5.2 below, where we discuss data bearing on
Vissers generalization which add an interesting twist to this discussion.

4.4 Finite control


(31)

Brazilian Portuguese (Nunes 2008a):


[Ninguem mexeu um dedo para me ajudar]
Nobody
moved a finger to me help
Nobody lifted a finger to help me

a.

b.

(32)
a.

b.

73

[Ninguem disse [que a Maria mexeu um dedo para me ajudar]]


Nobody said that the Maria moved a finger to me help
Nobody said that Maria didnt lift a finger to help me
Brazilian Portuguese (Nunes 2008a):
[Ninguem disse [que ia
mexer um dedo para me ajudar]]
Nobody
said
that went move a finger to me help
Nobody said that he wasnt going to lift a finger to help me
[Ninguem parecia [que ia
mexer um dedo para me ajudar]]
Nobody seemed that went move a finger to me help
It seemed that nobody was going to lift a finger to help me

The contrast in (31) illustrates the well-known fact that a negative polarity
item such as the minimizer um dedo a finger and its licenser (in this case,
ninguem nobody) must be in the same clause. Curiously, if we have a null
rather than an overt embedded subject in sentences analogous to (31b), the
minimizer can now be licensed by the matrix subject, as shown in (32a). Even
more interesting is the fact that it is not the case that any type of null subject
will do. Although contrasts such as (31) also hold in European Portuguese,
sentences analogous to (32) are unacceptable in this dialect.
Given that Brazilian Portuguese allows finite control into indicative clauses,
as argued above, the contrast between the two dialects with respect to (32)
receives a straightforward account from the perspective of the MTC. The
embedded null subject in sentences such as (32) in European Portuguese,
which is a prototypical pro-drop language, is pro. Hence, these sentences are
ruled out in European Portuguese because the minimizer and its licenser are
not in the same clause (in addition, [32b] violates the -criterion, as there is no
-role available for the matrix subject). By contrast, in Brazilian Portuguese
the embedded null subject is a trace of the matrix subject, as illustrated in
(33) below (with English words). Thus, the minimizer can be licensed by the
clause-mate trace of the negative quantifier (or it can be licensed before the
quantifier leaves the embedded clause).
(33) a.
b.

[TP nobodyi [vP ti said [CP that [TP ti would [vP ti lift a finger to help me]]]]]
[TP nobodyi [vP seemed [CP that [TP ti would [vP ti lift a finger to help me]]]]]

Again, we see that once the embedded clause is porous due to the availability
of an indicative T-head specified as , the derivation will yield a control (cf.
[32a]) or a hyper-raising construction (cf. [32b]) depending on whether or not

74

Empirical advantages

the moving subject is assigned an additional -role on its way to the matrix
[Spec, TP] (cf. [33]).13
13 A learnability question that arises is what exactly led indicative Ts to be analyzed by children
as ambiguous between -complete and -incomplete in Brazilian Portuguese. After all, the
ambiguous morphological paradigm cannot be the whole story, for in English, for instance,
verbal morphology is considerably weak, but hyper-raising is not allowed. Furthermore, whatever the relevant property turns out to be, it should arguably be a marked property; otherwise,
hyper-raising should be a very common phenomenon.
Nunes (2008a) suggests that the relevant trigger for this reanalysis in Brazilian Portuguese
was the existence of inflected infinitives in the language. More specifically, Nunes proposes that,
while finite verbal morphology started becoming weakened, Brazilian Portuguese learners still
had to acquire a marked property of Portuguese, namely, the existence of inflected infinitives.
Interestingly, for all Portuguese verbs, the inflected realization of some forms is the same as the
uninflected form. Take the verb cantar to sing, for example, and compare its uninflected form
(cantar) with the paradigm of inflected forms in (i) below. Although the paradigm is considerably meager in (colloquial) Brazilian Portuguese, both dialects have a considerable number of
forms that are ambiguous between being inflected or uninflected. Thus, successful acquisition
of infinitives in both dialects requires that learners must postulate that (certain) infinitival forms
are ambiguous between being -complete (the inflected ones) and -incomplete (the uninflected
ones). That being the case, Nunes (2008a) suggests that the weakening of finite verbal morphology in Brazilian Portuguese led learners to generalize this pattern and uniformize the whole
paradigm, taking both infinitival and indicative Ts to be systematically ambiguous. Thus, hyperraising also became possible with inflected infinitives in Brazilian Portuguese, as illustrated in
(ii) (see section 5.2.3 below for further discussion). For relevant discussion and alternative
approaches, see also Ferreira (2000), Rodrigues (2004), and Martins and Nunes (2009).
(i)
Inflected infinitives in
European Portuguese:
cantar to sing

(ii)

Inflected infinitives in
(colloquial) Brazilian
Portuguese: cantar to sing

1SG (eu)

cantar

1SG (eu)

cantar

2SG (tu)

cantares

2SG (voce)

cantar

2SG (voce)

cantar

3SG (ele)

cantar

3SG (ele)

cantar

1PL (a gente)

cantar

1PL (nos)

cantarmos

2PL (voces)

cantarem

1SG (a gente)

cantar

3PL (eles)

cantarem

2PL (vos)

cantardes

2PL (voces)

cantarem

3PL (eles)

cantarem

Brazilian Portuguese (Nunes 2008a):


a. E difcil desses professores elogiarem
alguem
Is difficult of-these teachers
praise.INF.3PL someone
b. Esses professores sao difceis de elogiarem
alguem
These teachers
are difficult of praise.INF.3PL someone
These teachers rarely praise someone

4.4 Finite control

75

4.4.2
Finite control, islands, and intervention effects
If finite control is also derived via A-movement, as advocated by the MTC, we
should expect it to exhibit island and intervention effects. Moreover, given that
hyper-raising constructions are also derived by A-movement, finite control and
hyper-raising should also pattern alike in this regard. With this in mind, let us
examine the sentences in (34).
(34)
a.

b.

Brazilian Portuguese (Nunes 2008a):


[O Joao disse [que [o bolo [que comeu]] nao estava bom]]
The Joao said that the cake that ate
not was good
Joao said that the cake that he ate was not good
[O Joao parece [que [o bolo [que comeu]] nao estava bom]]
The Joao seems that the cake that ate
not was good
It seems that the cake that Joao ate was not good

Under the proposal that both finite control and hyper-raising involve Amovement, the sentences in (34) should be derived by moving o Joao from the
subject position of the relative clause to the matrix subject position. However,
this movement crosses two islands (the relative clause itself and the embedded
subject containing it), explaining why the resulting sentences in (34) are unacceptable. In other words, island effects such as the ones documented in (34)
provide additional evidence for the MTC.14
Let us now consider the OC constructions in (35a) and (36a) below, whose
simplified structures under the MTC are given in (35b) and (36b) respectively.15
14 See Ferreira (2000, 2004, 2009), Rodrigues (2002, 2004), and Nunes (2009a) for further
discussion.
15 That constructions such as (36a) are indeed cases of OC is shown by the fact that the embedded
subject: (a) cannot have an arbitrary interpretation (cf. [ia]); (b) must be interpreted as the most
local c-commanding DP (cf. [ib]); (c) can only have a bound interpretation when controlled by
only-DPs (cf. [ic]); (d) only licenses sloppy reading under ellipsis (cf. [id]); and (e) requires de
se readings in the appropriate contexts (cf. [ie]).
See Landau (2003) and Barrie (2007) for relevant discussion.
(i) a.
b.
c.
d.
e.

John

doesnt know what PROarb to eat


Peteri said that [Johnk s mother]w doesnt know what PROw/ i/ k to read
A: Only John wondered what to do
B: No! I also wondered what I/#he should do
John doesnt know what to eat, and Mary doesnt either
(and Mary also doesnt know what she/ he should eat)
The unfortunate wondered how to get along with people after the war
([The unfortunate]i wondered how [he himself]i was going to get along
with people after the war)

76

Empirical advantages

What is relevant for our discussion is that the derivations of these sentences
involve a step where the embedded subject moves to the matrix [Spec, vP],
crossing a filled [Spec, CP], as illustrated in (37).
(35) a.
b.

What did John try to do?


[CP whati did [TP Johnk [vP tk try [CP ti C [TP tk to do ti ]]]]]

(36) a.
b.

John wondered what to do


[TP Johnk [vP tk wondered [CP whati [TP tk to do ti ]]]]

(37) a.

[vP Johnk try [CP whati C [TP tk to do ti ]]]

b.

[vP Johnk wondered [CP whati C [TP tk to do ti ]]]

The acceptability of the sentences in (35a) and (36a) indicates that we must
assume some version of Rizzis (1990) relativized minimality under which an
element in [Spec, CP] does not count as a proper intervener for A-movement
of the embedded subject. Leaving aside matters of technical implementation,
this observation makes two predictions with respect to finite control and hyperraising constructions. First, if A-movement of an embedded subject across a
filled [Spec, CP] is a licit operation in the case of standard non-finite control, as seen in (35) and (36), it should also be legitimate in cases of finite
control into indicatives and hyper-raising, as all of these different constructions involve the same derivational device: A-movement. The Brazilian Portuguese data in (38a) and (39a), whose simplified derivations are provided
in (38b) and (39b) (with English words), show that this prediction is indeed
fulfilled.
(38)
a.

b.

(39)
a.

b.

Brazilian Portuguese (Nunes 2009a):


O que o Joao disse que comeu?
What the Joao said that ate
What did Joao say that he ate?
[CP whati [TP Joaok [vP tk said [CP ti that [TP tk ate ti ]]]]]

Brazilian Portuguese (Nunes 2009a):


O que o Joao parece que comeu?
What the Joao seems that ate
What does Joao seem to have eaten?
[CP whati [TP Joaok [vP seems [CP ti that [TP tk ate ti ]]]]]

4.4 Finite control

77

The second prediction made by the MTC is that if A-movement of the


embedded subject is blocked by elements in other left-periphery positions,
both finite control and hyper-raising should be affected. As discussed in Nunes
(2008a), this prediction is borne out for both types of constructions regardless of
whether they involve indicative or subjunctive embedded clauses, as illustrated
in (40)(43).
(40)

Brazilian Portuguese (Nunes 2009a):


Alguem disse que o bolo, o Joao comeu
Someone said that the cake the Joao ate
Someone said that Joao ate the cake
Parece que o bolo, o Joao comeu
Seems that the cake the Joao ate
It seems that Joao ate the cake

a.

b.

(41)

Romanian
Ion vrea ca pe Maria s-o
ajute numai Petre
Ion wants that PE Maria SUBJ.her help only Petre
Ion wants Mary to be helped only by Petre
(Dobrovie-Sorin 1994: 124)

a.

Se
poate
ca bombele sa
explodeze n orice moment
REFL can.PRES.3SG that the-bombs SUBJ explode in any moment
It is possible that the bombs will go off any minute
(Grosu and Horvath 1984: 352)

b.

(42)

Brazilian Portuguese (Nunes 2009a):


[O Joao]i disse que o bolo, ti comeu
The Joao said that the cake ate
Joao said that he ate the cake

b. [O Joao]i parece que o bolo, ti comeu


The Joao seems that the cake ate
Joao seems to have eaten the cake
a.

(43)

Romanian:
Ion ncepe ca pe Maria s-o
ajute
Ion starts that PE Maria SUBJ.her help
Ion is beginning to help Maria
(Dobrovie-Sorin 1994: 124)
ca n orice moment sa
explodeze
b. Bombele pot
The-bombs can.PRES.3PL that in any moment SUBJ explode
The bombs can go off any minute
(Grosu and Horvath 1987)
a.

Example (40) shows that Brazilian Portuguese allows a left-dislocated element


in the embedded clause, whereas (41) illustrates the fact that the subjunctive
complement introduced by the complementizer ca in Romanian must have a

78

Empirical advantages

left-dislocated constituent.16 The contrast between (40)/(41), on the one hand,


and (42)/(43), on the other, thus indicates that left-dislocated elements do count
as proper interveners for A-movement out of the embedded clause. This raises
the independent question of why elements in [Spec, CP] and left-dislocated
elements contrast in this fashion.17 Although at the moment we do not have
anything conclusive to say on this issue,18 it is worth stressing that whatever
16 See e.g., Grosu and Horvath (1984) and Dobrovie-Sorin (1994) for relevant discussion.
17 Based on the interesting contrast in (i) below, Ferreira (2000, 2004, 2009) proposes that [Spec,
CP] may count as a proper intervener for the embedded subject, depending on the nature of its
occupant. The idea is that once the embedded subjects of (i) are moving to receive the matrix
external -role, minimality considerations should prevent them from crossing elements that are
potential -role bearers; hence the argumental DP que livro which book in (ia) counts as an
intervener for the embedded subject, but not the adverbial elements quando when or por que
why in (ib), which are not potential -role bearers. Although able to correctly distinguish the
acceptability patterns of (ia) from (ib), Ferreiras proposal incorrectly predicts that obligatorycontrol sentences such as (35a), (36a), and (38a) should also be unacceptable, given that the
DP in the embedded [Spec, CP] is a potential -role bearer.
(i)

Brazilian Portuguese (Ferreira 2000):


semana passada
a. O Joao nao sabe que livro leu na
The Joao not knows which book read in-the week past
Joao doesnt know which book he read last week tk
b. O Joao nao sabe quando/por que leu esse livro
The Joao not knows when/why
read this book
Joao doesnt know when/why he read this book

Nunes (2009a) argues that the key to this puzzle is to be found in another contrast noted
by Ferreira, namely, the contrast between a filled [Spec, CP], as in (ia), and an analogous
left-dislocation structure, as in (ii), where the minimality effect is much more salient.
(ii)

Brazilian Portuguese (Ferreira 2000):


Joao disse que esses livros, leu na
semana passada
The Joao said that these books read in-the week past
Joao said that he read these books last week

Given the pervasive use of topic/left-dislocation structures in Brazilian Portuguese (see e.g.,
Pontes 1987; Kato 1999, 2000; Britto 1997; Galves 1998, 2001; and Negrao 1999), Nunes
suggests that the argumental wh-element in (ia) lands in a left-dislocated position on the way
to the embedded [Spec, CP]. In other words, the marginality of (ia) is not due to a wh-phrase
in [Spec, CP], but to its trace in the left-dislocated position, as sketched in (iii) below (with
English words). In turn, the contrast between the unambiguous left-dislocation structure in (ii)
and (ia) can be accounted for if (ia) marginally allows the argumental DP to skip the embedded
left-dislocation position.
(iii)

[TP Joaoi doesnt [vP ti know [CP [which book]k [LD tk [TP ti read tk last week]]]]]
<- --- m

18 But see Nunes (2009a) for the suggestion that the relevant distinction is that C is a phase head
and, as such, it allows multiple Specs for successive cyclic movement. Under this view, hyperraising of subjects involves movement through the embedded [Spec, CP]. If the embedded

4.5 MTC under the copy theory of movement

79

the relevant minimality notion is that makes the correct distinctions, it must
group finite control and hyper-raising as a natural class and this is exactly what
the MTC does. Both are products of A-movement.
4.4.3
Summary
Finite-control constructions are especially illuminating in the debate on how
to analyze OC. As they involve full-fledged clausal structures, as opposed to
the leaner structures generally found in non-finite control, they permit a much
more varied testing. In the sections above, we saw that finite control and hyperraising constructions pattern alike with respect to reconstruction effects regarding the licensing of minimizers (section 4.4.1), island effects, and minimality
(section 4.4.2). The overall conclusion that their parallel behavior leads to is that
they are derived through the same derivational resources, namely, A-movement.
In our opinion, finite control provides one of the strongest empirical arguments
for the MTC. It is hard to see how alternative approaches on the market can
account for the parallel behavior between finite control and hyper-raising without adding stipulations isolating finite control from standard non-finite control
or replicating the A-movement operation involved under the guise of different
technologies.
4.5

The movement theory of control under the copy


theory of movement

As we discussed in Chapter 3, in models having D-structure (DS) as one of


their components, there is no room for movement to thematic positions. Recall
that under DS-based models, lexical insertion and -role assignment precede
all movement operations. Thus, if a given -role fails to be assigned at DS,
convergence cannot be enforced by having the relevant -relation established
by a later movement operation because the derivation is already ruled out at
DS. As we also pointed out, if the notion of DS is abandoned, as is the case
within minimalism, this picture completely changes. More specifically, once
it is assumed that lexical insertion, -role assignment, and movement actually
intersperse, movement to thematic positions arises as a logical possibility,
indeed as a natural expectation.
One can of course retain the old properties of DS by assuming that relations can be established by merge but not by move (see Chomsky 1995).
But it is worth emphasizing that, once DS is gone, the game is different and the
CP already has a filled Spec, no minimality issue arises as the two Specs are equidistant (see
Chomsky 1995).

80

Empirical advantages

evaluation of the assumptions of the new model also changes. If movement to


-positions is a theoretical possibility allowed by the model, the burden of proof
is on proposals that exclude it. In other words, under the general architecture of
the minimalist program, it is the ban on movement to -positions that requires
proper justification, as it is an independent proviso in a model lacking DS.
In Chapter 3 and in the sections above, we have argued that, in fact, the
null hypothesis in a model that eschews DS receives substantial support in the
domain of OC, as it accounts for the distribution and interpretation of OC in
terms of A-movement without enriching the theoretical apparatus.19 Again, it is
the ban on movement to -positions that represents an enrichment of the theory
if we keep the same assumptions constant and such an enrichment brings with
it a full bag of additional provisos such as PRO as a special type of empty
category and the control module, to name just the most prominent ones (see
Chapter 2 for other additional assumptions required in different models). Thus
far, we have defended the claim that OC PRO is an empty category left by
A-movement, without pausing to discuss the ontology of this empty category.
In section 3.4.3 we in fact mentioned that if OC PRO is a trace, as advocated
by the MTC, and if traces are copies under the copy theory of movement, OC
PRO should also be a copy under the copy theory. However, everything that
was discussed so far could be implemented in terms of traces or copies. We
will shift gears now and examine the implications of the copy theory for the
MTC in more detail.
Recall that the original motivation for the incorporation of the copy theory
within the minimalist program was twofold. First, it permitted the replacement
of DS- and SS-based analyses by LF-based analyses in the case of the binding
theory (Chomksy 1993). Second, it made it possible that the output of movement
operations was compatible with the inclusiveness condition (Chomsky 1995),
which bans creationism in syntax in the sense that all syntactic structures must
be built based on lexical material present in the numeration. Thus, although
traces violate the inclusiveness condition as there are no such entities in the
lexicon, copies are in compliance with this condition as they are replicas of
lexical material present in the numeration or structures built from this lexical
material. As such, the copy theory is plausibly one of the solid architectural
pillars of the minimalist program.
19 For further evidence for movement to -positions, see e.g., Nunes (1995, 2001, 2004), Nunes and
Uriagereka (2000), Hornstein (2001), Hornstein and Nunes (2002), in the domain of parasitic
gaps and across-the-board movement, and Lidz and Idsardi (1997), Hornstein (2001, 2007),
Kayne (2002), Zwart (2002), Grohmann (2003), and Boeckx, Hornstein, and Nunes (2007,
2008) in the domain of anaphora.

4.5 MTC under the copy theory of movement

81

It is worth stressing that this reanalysis of movement operations is not a notational variant of the trace theory just involving the substitution of one type of
category without phonetic realization for another. Rather, it has wholesale conceptual and empirical implications within minimalism. Consider the derivation
of (44), for instance, given in (45).
(44)

John was promoted

(45) a.
b.

Num = {John1 , was1 , promoted1 }


Selection of promoted:
Num = {John1 , was1 , promoted0 }
V = promoted
Selection of John:
Num = {John0 , was1 , promoted0 }
V = promoted
N = John
Merger of promoted and John:
Num = {John0 , was1 , promoted0 }
VP = [promoted John]
-marking of John:
Num = {John0 , was1 , promoted0 }
VP = [promoted John ]
Selection of was:
Num = {John0 , was0 , promoted0 }
VP = [promoted John ]
T = was
Merger of was and VP:
TP = [was promoted John ]
Copying of John:
TP = [was promoted John ]
N = John
Merger of John and TP:
TP = [John was promoted John ]
Deletion in the phonological component:
TP = [John was promoted John ]

c.

d.

e.

f.

g.
h.

i.
j.

The relevant steps for our discussion are the ones represented in (45h
i). As we can see, there is actually no operation of movement employed in
the derivation in (45). Displacement in natural languages is reanalyzed under
the copy theory as the output of two basic operations: copy, which replicates
the targeted constituent (cf. [45h]), and the independently required merge operation, which assembles larger syntactic objects by combining lexical items
(cf. [45cd]) or complex syntactic objects assembled in previous derivational

82

Empirical advantages

steps (cf. [45hi]).20 Thus, if movement is not a primitive operation of the


computational system, keeping the DS-based ban on movement to -position
by assuming that merge but not move licenses -assignment requires further
elaboration. However, establishing how to state this prohibition in a natural
way is no trivial matter.
Notice that if syntactic structures are not built in a single step, as in DSbased models, but through various applications of merge, as assumed in the
minimalist program, it is an unavoidable property of the system that merge can
license -assignment (cf. [45de]). That being so, the natural expectation is
that in the derivation of an OC construction such as (46) below, for instance,
the matrix light verb should be able to assign its external -role to the copy
of John with which it has merged, as sketched in (47cd). Any departure
from this expectation should be welcomed with skepticism and accompanied
by solid evidence.
(46)

John hopes to win

(47) a.

Applications of select, merge, -assignment, and copy:


vP2 = [hopes [John1 to [vP1 John1 win]]]
Copying of John:
vP2 = [hopes [John1 to [vP John1 win]]]
N = John1
Merger of John and vP2 :
vP2 = [John1 hopes [John1 to [vP John1 win]]]
-marking of John by the matrix v:
vP2 = [John1,2 hopes [John1 [vP John1 win]]]
Further applications of select, merge, and copy:
TP = [John1,2 T [John1,2 hopes [John1 [vP John1 win]]]]
Deletion in the phonological component:
TP = [John1,2 T [John1,2 hopes [John1 [vP John1 win]]]]

b.

c.
d.
e.
f.

Notice also that the point remains valid regardless of whether one assumes
a featural view on -roles, as illustrated in (47), or a configurational view,
as sketched in (48) below, where John can be interpreted as establishing
the thematic relations 1 and 2 in virtue of having one of its copies merged
into the embedded [Spec, vP] and another copy merged into the matrix [Spec,
vP]. Crucially, the structure that reaches LF (cf. [48d]) preserves the relevant
configurations associated with each thematic relation. In other words, both (47)
and (48) can be appropriately interpreted as a complex monadic predicate such
as (49) in the semantic component (see section 3.4.2).
20 Merge itself may be a composite of the more basic operations concatenate and label, as argued
by Hornstein and Nunes (2008) and Hornstein (2009). We will put this possibility aside for the
sake of brevity.

4.5 MTC under the copy theory of movement


(48) a.

83

Applications of select, merge, and copy:


vP2 = [hopes [John to [vP1 John win]]]
1

b.

Copying of John:
vP2 = [hopes [John to [vP1 John win]]]
1

c.

N = John
Merger of John and vP2 :
vP2 = [John hopes [John to [vP1 John win]]]
2

d.

Further applications of select, merge, and copy:


TP = [John T [John hopes [John to [vP1 John win]]]]

e.

Deletion in the phonological component:


TP = [John T [John hopes [John [vP John win]]]]

(49)

John (x [x hopes x to win])

In sum, the copy theory unifies the kinds of thematic discharge found in
control and non-control structures. Once move reduces to copy plus merge,
all instances of -assignment, even those arising from movement, result
from merging into a thematic position. In addition, the copy theory highlights the conceptual awkwardness of keeping the DS-based ban on movement to thematic positions within a system where traces are independently
conceived of as targets of a copying operation. If the copy of a given syntactic object can participate in syntactic relations that are licensed by merge
such as case-, -feature, or EPP-checking, for instance (cf. [45hi]), it should
also be able to participate in -relations as these are also licensed by merge
(cf. [45de]).21
In the next sections we focus on specific empirical consequences of the copy
theory for the MTC.
4.5.1
Adjunct control and sideward movement
Let us now examine another theoretical possibility that is made available once
DS is eliminated and syntactic objects are built step by step through the operation merge. Take the derivation of (50), for instance, as given in (51).
(50)

The man saw Jane

21 Those partial to the merge/remerge variety of the copy theory, which treats movement as just
one more case of merge (see Chomsky 2001, 2004), should find the idea that -roles could be
discharged under remerge just as congenial. In other words, if being merged into a -position
suffices for a given DP to get a -role, being remerged should as well.

84

Empirical advantages

(51) a.
b.

c.

d.

e.

f.

g.

h.

i.

j.
k.

l.

Num = {the1 , man1 , T1 , saw1 , Jane1 }


Selection of saw:
Num = {the1 , man1 , T1 , saw0 , Jane1 }
V = saw
Selection of Jane:
Num = {the1 , man1 , T1 , saw0 , Jane0 }
V = saw
N = Jane
Merger of saw and Jane:
Num = {the1 , man1 , T1 , saw0 , Jane0 }
VP = [saw Jane]
Selection of the:
Num = {the0 , man1 , T1 , saw0 , Jane0 }
VP = [saw Jane]
D = the
Selection of man:
Num = {the0 , man0 , T1 , saw0 , Jane0 }
VP = [saw Jane]
D = the
N = man
Merger of the and man:
Num = {the0 , man0 , T1 , saw0 , Jane0 }
VP = [saw Jane]
DP = [the man]
Merger of DP and VP:
Num = {the0 , man0 , T1 , saw0 , Jane0 }
VP = [[the man] [saw Jane]]
Selection of T:
Num = {the0 , man0 , T0 , saw0 , Jane0 }
VP = [[the man] [saw Jane]]
T
Merger of T and VP:
TP = [T [[the man] [saw Jane]]]
Copying of [the man]:
TP = [T [[the man] [saw Jane]]]
DP = [the man]
Merger of DP and TP:
[[the man] T [[the man] [saw Jane]]]

The exaggeratedly detailed presentation of the steps in (51) is meant to make it


transparent that it is ordinarily common for a given derivational step to involve
more than one root syntactic object (more than one tree) at a time. This is
trivially true in the first steps of any derivation. In order for merge to start operating, two items must be selected from the numeration (cf. [51c]) and under
bare phrase structure each of these items constitutes a (root) minimal-maximal
projection (Chomsky 1995). But there are in addition two other general cases

4.5 MTC under the copy theory of movement

85

where the computational system must handle more than one root syntactic
object at a time. The first one is illustrated in (51eh). Under the assumption
that merge can only target root syntactic objects (Chomskys [1995] extension
condition), the syntactic object in (51h) can only be assembled if the and
man in (51f) merge first and the resulting object [the man] then merges with
[saw Jane] (cf. [51gh]). If man first merges with [saw Jane], the next merger
yields the unwanted structure [the [man [saw Jane]]]. Thus, whenever a given
structure has a complex specifier, its derivation must involve a step analogous
to (51f), with (at least) three root syntactic objects in the derivational working
space.22 Finally, the last general case of more than one root syntactic object in a
given derivational step arises when the computational system copies a substructure of a root syntactic object. As exemplified in (51k), before the copy gets
merged we again have more than one root tree in the derivational working space.
The interesting point for our discussion is that the derivational steps exemplified in (51) make room for an additional possibility, abstractly sketched
in (52).
(52) a.

b.

c.

Applications of select, merge, and copy:


K = [......]
L = [...]
Copying of :
K = [......]
L = [...]
M=
Merger of and L:
K = [......]
N = [ [L . . . ]]

After the computational system builds the root syntactic objects K and L in
(52a), a copy of from within K is made (cf. [52b]) and merged with L,
yielding the syntactic object N in (52c). Nunes (1995) calls the steps sketched
in (52) sideward movement.23 Terminological metaphors aside, note that there
is no intrinsic difference between the upward movement seen in (51jl), for
instance, and the sideward movement sketched in (52) in what regards the
computational steps involved. In both cases, we have trivial applications of
movement, viewed as copy plus merge.24
22 The same holds for complex adjuncts. See Uriagereka (1999) and Nunes and Uriagereka (2000)
for relevant discussion.
23 Steps like the ones in (52) are referred to as an interarboreal operation by Bobaljik (1995) and
Bobaljik and Brown (1997), and as paracyclic movement by Uriagereka (1998, chapter 4).
24 If movement is parasitic on agree and agree requires c-command, as in Chomskys (2000, 2001,
2004) system, then this is not quite right. We are abstracting from this difference here.

86

Empirical advantages

This point is worth emphasizing, as it has been consistently misunderstood.


Within DS-based models such as GB, sideward movement is not a theoretical
possibility, for all syntactic computations operate with a single root tree the
one made available by DS. However, the picture is completely different within
minimalism. Once DS is abandoned and structure building is carried out by
merge, multiple root syntactic objects in a single derivational step not only
are allowed in principle, but must indeed be employed in derivations involving
complex specifiers, for instance, in order for the extension condition to be
satisfied (cf. [51dh]). Under the standard architectural features of minimalism,
sideward movement is therefore not a novel operation or a new species of
movement. It is just a description of a specific interaction between copy and
merge. The fact that in (52bc), for instance, does not merge with the structure
that contains the source of the copy, as opposed to [the man] in (51jl), may
follow from two independent (therefore irrelevant) reasons: (i) that in (52b)
has two root syntactic objects around to merge with, whereas [the man] in (51j)
only has one; and (ii) that merger of with L in (52b) may be licensed by last
resort, but merger with K may not. The derivation of V-to-T movement under
the sideward-movement analysis sketched in (53) illustrates this point.25
(53) a.

b.

c.

d.

Applications of select, merge, and copy:


VP = [ . . . V . . . ]
T
Copying of V:
VP = [ . . . V . . . ]
T
V
Merger of T and V (by adjunction):
VP = [ . . . V . . . ]
K = [T0 V [T0 T]]
Merger of K and VP:
TP
T0
V

[VP . . . V . . . ]
T0

If T and VP had merged in (53a), yielding [TP T VP], the extension condition
should then prevent the verb from adjoining to T, as T would no longer be a root
25 For relevant discussion, see Bobaljik (1995), Nunes (1995, 2001, 2004), Bobaljik and Brown
(1997), Uriagereka (1998), and Hornstein and Nunes (2002, 2008).

4.5 MTC under the copy theory of movement

87

syntactic object. However, V-to-T adjunction can comply with the extension
condition if it proceeds as in (53bd). Crucially, once the derivational step in
(53b) is reached, the copied V must merge with T rather than VP as it arguably
has features to check with the former, but not the latter.
To put it in general terms, given the standard minimalist assumptions
reviewed above, sideward movement naturally arises within the system without
enriching the grammatical apparatus. Thus, unless explicitly prohibited, sideward movement comes for free as one more instantiation of copy plus merge.
Consequently, it is excluding sideward movement as a grammatical possibility that requires additional theoretical devices. The theories that exclude
sideward movement by invidiously distinguishing the merger in (51kl) from
the one in (52bc) are the methodologically profligate ones, not those that
allow it.
This is not the place to defend the virtues of sideward movement.26 Rather we
wish to illustrate how it allows a smooth analysis of adjunct-control constructions such as (54) below. As illustrated in (55), adjunct control has virtually the
same properties as OC into complements.
(54)

Johni saw Mary after/before/while PROi eating a bagel

(55) a.

Adjunct-control PRO requires a local c-commanding antecedent:


Johni said [that [Maryk s brother]m left [after PROm/ i/ k/ w eating a bagel]]27
Adjunct-control PRO only licenses sloppy readings under ellipsis:
John left before PRO singing and Bill did too
and Billi left before hei / John sang
Adjunct-control PRO can only have a bound interpretation when controlled
by only-DPs:
Only Churchill left after PRO giving the speech
[Nobody else]i left after hei / Churchill gave the speech
In the appropriate type of adjuncts (e.g., purposives), adjunct-control PRO
obligatorily requires a de se interpretation:28
The unfortunate wrote a petition (in order) PRO to get a medal
[The unfortunate]i wrote a petition so that [he himself]i would get a medal

b.

c.

d.

In the preceding sections and chapters, we have argued that the properties
illustrated in (55ad) are signature properties of A-movements/chains. Let
us then examine how sideward movement allows OC into complements and
26 See Nunes (1995, 2001, 2004), Hornstein (2001), and Drummond (2009) for an extensive
discussion of the conceptual and empirical virtues of sideward movement, apparent problems,
and solutions to prevent many cases of overgeneration.
27 For reasons that will become clear in section 4.5.1.2 below, PRO in (55a) can be interpreted as
John if the adjunct clause is interpreted as modifying the matrix verb.
28 These cases were pointed out to us by John Nissenbaum (personal communication).

88

Empirical advantages

adjunct control to be both subsumed under a movement analysis. Take the


(simplified) derivation of (56), given in (57), for instance.29
(56)

John1 saw Mary after PRO1 eating lunch

(57) a.

Applications of select, merge, and copy:


Num = {John0 , T+ 1 , saw0 , Mary0 , after0 , T 0 , eating0 , lunch0 }
PP = [after John T eating lunch]
VP = [saw Mary]
Copying of John:
PP = [after John T eating lunch]
VP = [saw Mary]
N = John
Merger of John and VP:
PP = [after John T eating lunch]
VP = [John saw Mary]
Merger of PP and VP:
[VP [VP John saw Mary] [PP after John T eating lunch]]
Selection of T + :
Num = {John0 , T+ 0 , saw0 , Mary0 , after0 , T 0 , eating0 , lunch0 }
[VP [VP John saw Mary] [PP after John T eating lunch]]
T+
Merger of T + and VP:
TP = [T+ [VP [VP John saw Mary] [PP after John T eating lunch]]]
Copying of John:
TP = [T+ [VP [VP John saw Mary] [PP after John T eating lunch]]]
N = John
Merger of John and TP:
TP = [John [T+ [VP [VP John saw Mary] [PP after John T eating lunch]]]]
Deletion in the phonological component:
TP = [John [T+ [VP [VP John saw Mary] [PP after John T eating lunch]]]]

b.

c.

d.
e.

f.
g.

h.
i.

After VP and PP have been assembled in (57a), saw still has its external
-role to assign, but there is no remaining element in the numeration to receive
it. Notice, however, that John has not checked case within the gerund clause
(its T-head does not have a complete -set) and is therefore still active for
purposes of A-movement. The computation then creates a copy of John
(cf. [57b]) and merges it with the VP (an instance of sideward movement),
allowing the external -role to be discharged (cf. [57c]). The PP then adjoins
to VP (cf. [57d]), the matrix TP is built (cf. [57f]), and the matrix subject
moves to (i.e., gets copied and merged into) [Spec, TP] (cf. [57gh]). Note
that both the sideward movement in (57bc) and the upward movement in
29 See Hornstein (1999, 2001, 2003) for discussion.

4.5 MTC under the copy theory of movement

89

(57gh) extend the targeted tree. Notice also that sideward movement provides
an escape hatch for John to have its case checked. Were John not to move,
the derivation would crash as it could not get its case checked within the adjunct
clause.
The derivation sketched in (57) shows that A-movement of John from
within the adjunct to a thematic position (the external argument of saw)
yields a control structure. It is worth pointing out that no special proviso was
added to the system in order to achieve this result. The MTC when interpreted
under the copy theory predicts that any instance of obligatory control should
involve applications of copy and merge and obligatory adjunct control should
be no different. Thus, if PRO in (56) is a residue of (sideward) movement to
a thematic position, we expect it to function like an (A-)trace and we expect
the relation between John and PRO in (56) to manifest all the properties of
A-chain dependencies. As the data in (55) indicate, our expectations are not
disappointed.
The adjunct-control analysis in terms of sideward movement outlined in
(57) also accounts for the fact that adjunct control does not differ from subject
or object control in terms of interclausal agreement. Recall from section 4.3
that epicene nouns such as the counterpart of victim in Romance trigger
[+feminine] agreement even in contexts when the victim is a male. As observed
by Rodrigues (2004), this pattern of agreement also obtains in adjunct-control
configurations such as (58), which indicates that the trace left by sideward
movement of the victim triggers [+feminine] agreement on the embedded
participial morphology, just like the trace left by upward movement in instances
of raising and subject control (cf. [8] and [9] above).
(58) a.

Italian (Rodrigues 2004):


La vittima mori dopo essere stata
trasportata
/??stato
The victim died after be
been.FEM brought.FEM been.MASC
trasportato
all ospedale
brought.MASC to-the hospital

b.

Brazilian Portuguese (Rodrigues 2004):


A vtima morreu depois de ser trazida
/??trazido
para
The victim died
after of be brought.FEM brought.MASC to
o hospital
the hospital
The victim died after being brought to the hospital

In the next sections we discuss three additional welcome consequences of


the sideward-movement analysis of adjunct control sketched in (57).

90

Empirical advantages

4.5.1.1 Subjectobject asymmetry in adjunct control


A very distinctive property of adjunct control is that PRO must be controlled by
the subject and not the object of the next higher clause, as illustrated in (59).30
(59)

Johni saw Maryk after PROi/ k eating lunch

Rosenbaum (1970) attempts to account for this subjectobject asymmetry by


extending the minimal-distance principle to cases of adjunct control. Roughly
speaking, the minimal-distance principle blocks object control into adjuncts on
the assumption that John but not Mary c-commands the adjunct. Unfortunately, this assumption is not obviously correct. For example, it is possible for
objects to bind pronouns found within adjuncts, as Orson Welles taught us:
(60)

John will drink [no wine]i before iti is ready for drinking

If we assume that in order to be interpreted as a bound variable a pronoun


must be c-commanded by its antecedent, this implies that it in (60) must be
c-commanded by no wine at least at LF. But then objects should be able to
control into adjuncts, contrary to fact (cf. [59]).
The sideward-movement account outlined in (57) allows us to explain this
subject/object asymmetry if we assume with Chomsky (1995) that movement
is subject to economy. More specifically, Chomsky has proposed that move
is less economical than merge. That is, merge trumps move when both are
available and both lead to convergent derivations. In the context of the copy
theory, where move is understood as copy plus merge, this proposal can be
interpreted as saying that the operation copy is costly and should be employed
only under convergence pressure.31 With this in mind, consider the derivational
step in (61).
(61)

Applications of select, merge, and copy:


Num = {John0 , T+ 1 , saw0 , Mary1 , after0 , T 0 , eating0 , lunch0 }
PP = [after John T eating lunch]
VP = saw

In (61), saw must assign its internal -role and there are two potential
candidates to receive it: Mary, which is still in the numeration, and John,
which is still active for purposes of A-movement in virtue of having its case
unchecked, as discussed earlier. If Mary is selected and merged with saw,
30 But see section 7.3.2.1 below, where we discuss cases of adjunct control in Portuguese where
we find subject or object control depending on whether we have wh-in situ or wh-movement.
31 See Nunes (1995, 2001, 2004) and Hornstein and Nunes (2002) for relevant discussion.

4.5 MTC under the copy theory of movement

91

as seen in (57a), the derivation converges as a subject-control structure, after


John undergoes sideward movement to [Spec, VP] (cf. [57be]). In turn, if
John is copied and merged with saw, as shown in (62), the derivation should
in principle converge as well, this time yielding an object-control structure.
(62) a.

b.

c.

d.
e.
f.
g.

Copying of John:
PP = [after John T eating lunch]
V = saw
N = John
Merger of John and V:
PP = [after John T eating lunch]
VP = [saw John]
Selection and merger of Mary:
PP = [after John T eating lunch]
VP = [Mary saw John]
Merger of PP and VP:
[VP [Mary saw John] [PP after John T eating lunch]]
Selection and merger of T+ :
TP = [T+ [VP [Mary saw John] [PP after John T eating lunch]]]
Copying and merger of Mary:
[TP Mary [T+ [VP [Mary saw John] [PP after John T eating lunch]]]]
Deletion in the phonological component:
[TP Mary [T+ [VP [Mary saw John] [PP after John T eating lunch]]]]

Note, however, that the derivation in (62) violates economy as copying of John
is employed (cf. [62a]) at a derivational step where selection and merger of
Mary would suffice to yield a convergent result (cf. [57]). Notice that once
Mary becomes the object of saw (cf. [57a]), it receives accusative case and
therefore cannot check the external -role of saw, as it becomes inactive for
purposes of A-relations. In this scenario, copying of and merger of John are
indeed legitimate (cf. [57fg]), as there is no alternative option that leads to
convergence.
In sum, if economy independently restricts movement/copying and sideward
movement is just an instance of copy plus merge, then the restriction to subject
control into adjuncts is what we expect (and find).32
32 The result is actually a bit more robust than this. There are various ways of ensuring preference
of merger over movement in these contexts. For example, one may piggyback on Chomsky`s
(2000) proposal that a numeration is organized in subarrays, and require that material that has
been selected and integrated into the structure can be accessed again only after all relevant
elements of the active subarray have been used. This possibility is explored in Nunes and
Uriagereka (2000) and Nunes (2001, 2004).

92

Empirical advantages

4.5.1.2 Adjunct control and CED effects


At first sight, the proposal that adjunct control is also a product of (A-)movement
seems to face problems when familiar instances of movement out of adjuncts
are taken into consideration. A sentence such as (63), for instance, displays a
typical CED effect (see Huang 1982), showing that such movement does not
lead to acceptable results.
(63)

[[Which book]i did [John [vP [vP talk to Mary] [PP after he read ti ]]]]

Given the unacceptability of (63), the question that arises is why sideward movement in the adjunct-control construction in (64) below (cf. [57])
does not violate the CED. Or, to put matters slightly differently, what
prevents sideward movement from applying in (63), incorrectly bleeding
CED effects? The challenge for the MTC is thus to provide an account
that at once explains why movement leads to CED effects in (63) but not
in (64).
(64)

[Johni [vP [vP ti saw Mary] [PP after ti eating lunch]]]

Theoretically accounting for the difference is less difficult than it may appear
to be. Let us more closely examine the derivational steps prior to movement of
John in (64) and which book in (63), as respectively represented in (65) and
(66).
(65)

Applications of select, merge, and copy:


PP = [after John T eating lunch]
vP = [saw Mary]

(66)

Applications of select, merge, and copy:


[Did [John [vP [vP talk to Mary] [PP [which book] after he read [which
book]]]]]

Whatever the ultimate analysis of adjunct islands turns out to be, it should
obviously apply to adjuncts. But notice that the notion of being an adjunct is
not an absolute, but a relational notion. In other words, a given constituent
X is an adjunct of Y only after X and Y are merged. Before that, each is an
independent syntactic object. This is exactly the case in (65). The PP is not an
adjunct of the vP at this derivational step, but an independent tree. Copying
from within the PP should in fact be no different from the copying that takes
place in standard instances of movement such as movement of the subject from
[Spec, vP] to [Spec, TP] depicted in (67).

4.5 MTC under the copy theory of movement


(67) a.
b.

c.

93

Applications of select and merge:


TP = [T [vP he saw her]]
Copying of he:
TP = [T [vP he saw her]]
D = he
Merger of he and TP:
[TP he [T [vP he saw her]]]

As for the derivation of (63), at the derivational step where the wh-phrase
should move out of the PP, the PP has already adjoined to the vP (cf. [66]).
Therefore, extraction out of it should indeed yield a CED effect. To derive
(63) without incurring a CED violation requires moving which book from
within the PP before the PP is adjoined to the vP. However, this movement
targets [Spec, CP]. Thus, the adjunct cannot be merged until C has been added
to the derivation, if it is to remain porous to movement. In other words, a
potential derivation of (63) employing sideward movement should involve the
derivational steps in (68), where the PP remains an independent syntactic object
throughout the computation.
(68) a.

b.

c.

Applications of select, merge, and copy:


PP = [[which book] after he read [which book]]
CP = [did [John [vP talk to Mary]]]
Copying of which book:
PP = [[which book] after he read [which book]]
CP = [did [John [vP talk to Mary]]]
DP = [which book]
Merger of which book and CP:
PP = [[which book] after he read [which book]]
CP = [[which book] [did [John [vP talk to Mary]]]]

Although sideward movement of which book in (68bc) allows the relevant


wh-features to be licensed, there is no convergent continuation for (68c). Notice
that the PP in (68c) must adjoin to vP for interpretive reasons. However, once vP
has been integrated into a larger structure, merger between PP and vP violates
the extension condition. To sum up, if PP is adjoined to the vP at the right time
(cf. [66]), it becomes an adjunct island for later movements from within it. If
adjunction of PP is delayed to allow feature checking later on in the derivation
(cf. [68]), the extension condition prevents PP from merging with vP. In either
case, the derivation of (63) is correctly blocked.33
33 One wonders what blocks a derivation in which the wh-element of (63) undergoes sideward
movement to an outer [Spec, vP] before PP adjoins to vP, as illustrated in (i) below, which

94

Empirical advantages

Notice that this analysis also derives locality effects in adjunct-control constructions. In a sentence such as (69), for instance, where the gerund is adjoined
to the embedded clause, PRO cannot take the matrix subject as its antecedent,
but only the subject of the next clause up.
(69)

[Johni left the room [after Maryk answered the questions without PROk/ i
understanding them]]

In order for the matrix control in (69) to be obtained under the MTC, John
should be generated in the adjunct clause, as shown in (70) below. Movement
of John to the matrix [Spec, vP] should then yield a CED effect, as it would
be crossing an adjunct island. Similar to what happens to the wh-phrase in (66),
when the relevant target for the movement of John (the matrix [Spec, vP]) is
introduced in the derivation it is already too late, as John is trapped within an
adjunct island.
should then yield the sentence in (63) in compliance with the extension condition. Crucially,
although the copy of which book inside PP is trapped within the adjunct, the copy in the outer
[Spec, vP] is free to undergo further movement to [Spec, CP].
(i) a. Applications of select, merge, and copy:
PP = [[which book] after he read [which book]]
vP = [vP John talk to Mary]
b. Copying of [which book]:
PP = [[which book] after he read [which book]]
vP = [vP John talk to Mary]
DP = [which book]
c. Merger of DP and vP:
PP = [[which book] after he read [which book]]
vP = [[which book] [v John talk to Mary]]
d. Merger of PP and vP (by adjunction):
[vP [vP [which book] [v John talk to Mary]] [PP [which book] after he read [which
book]]]
We would like to suggest that sideward movement in (ibc) is prevented by last resort and the
ban on global computations with look-ahead. A standard assumption within the phase-based
model (Chomsky 2000, 2001, 2004) is that movement to the edge of a phase is not driven by
regular feature checking, but by the phase impenetrability condition, which basically forces
elements that are in the complement domain of a phase head to move to its edge so that later
relations can take place (see Boskovic 2007 for relevant discussion). Notice, however, that the
wh-phrase in (ia) is already at the edge and is not in the complement domain of any phase
head. Thus, copying of the wh-phrase at this derivational step is not licensed by last resort. If
computational decisions are to be made locally without look-ahead, as we are assuming here,
the wh-phrase will then remain in the edge of PP until PP adjoins to vP. See Nunes (2008c) for
further discussion.

4.5 MTC under the copy theory of movement


(70)

95

PP = [after Mary [vP [vP answered the questions] [PP without John
understanding them]]]
vP = [left the room]

It is worth stressing that the analysis of the contrast between (63) and (64)
advocated above explores very natural assumptions within minimalism.34 First,
once syntactic structures are built step by step, relational notions such as adjunct
of are only instantiated if the relevant objects have been merged.35 A given XP
will become an adjunct island only after it adjoins to its target; before that, it is a
porous domain like any other root syntactic object. Thus, sideward movement
in a sense bleeds CED by applying before CED becomes relevant. Second,
every application of merge (including adjunction) is subject to the extension
condition.36 Third, the operation of copy is subject to last resort, computed in
a local fashion (without look-ahead). Thus, one cannot idly create a copy and
34 For a full elaboration see Hornstein (2001), Nunes (2001, 2004), and Hornstein and Nunes
(2002).
35 The same considerations of course apply to the notion specifier/subject of (see Nunes and
Uriagereka 2000; Hornstein 2001; and Nunes 2001, 2004, for relevant discussion). Hornstein
and Kiguchi (2003) and Kiguchi (2004), for instance, analyze Higginbothams (1980) PRO-gate
phenomena illustrated in (i) in terms of sideward movement of a given DP from within an XP
before this XP becomes a subject island, as illustrated in (ii) (see section 6.2 below for further
discussion).
(i)

[[PROi having to get up early] upset everyonei ]

(ii) a. Applications of select, merge, and copy:


K = [everyone having to get up early]
L = upset
b. Copying of everyone:
K = [everyone having to get up early]
L = upset
M = everyone
c. Merger of L and M:
K = [everyone having to get up early]
N = [upset everyone]
d. Merger of K and N:
[[everyone having to get up early] upset everyone]
e. Deletion in the phonological component:
[[everyone having to get up early] upset everyone]
36 Starting with Chomksy (1993), it has been often assumed that the extension condition does
not apply to adjunction. Clearly an approach that treats all instances of merge as subject to
extension holds the methodological high ground. For a reanalysis of the principal empirical
arguments for assuming that adjunction is not subject to extension, see Nunes (1995, 2001,
2004).

96

Empirical advantages

leave it dangling because it will be useful later on in the derivation. Copies are
not made until prompted by their targets.37
In the next section we will see that this analysis also receives independent
support from finite control.
4.5.1.3 Finite adjunct control
In section 4.4, we saw that Brazilian Portuguese displays finite control into
indicative clauses, which was attributed to the possibility that its indicative Theads be associated with person and number (T+ ) or number only (T ). When
associated with T , indicative finite clauses do not value the case feature of
their subject, which then remains active for purposes of A-movement, yielding
finite-control configurations. This analysis also extends to finite adjunct clauses,
as illustrated in (71), which displays all the diagnostics of OC.38
(71)

Brazilian Portuguese:
O Joao viu a Maria depois que entrou na
sala
The Joao saw the Maria after that entered in-the room
Johni saw Maryk when hei / shek entered the room

The (simplified) derivation of (71) proceeds along the lines of (72) (with
English words for convenience).
(72) a.

b.

c.

d.
e.
f.

Applications of select, merge, and copy:


K = [CP after that Joao T entered the room]
L = [vP saw Maria]
Copying of Joao:
K = [CP after that Joao T entered the room]
L = [vP saw Maria]
M = Joao
Merger of L and M:
K = [CP after that Joao T entered the room]
N = [vP Joao saw Maria]
Merger of K and N (by adjunction):
[vP [vP Joao saw Maria] [CP after that Joao T entered the room]]
Selection and merger of T+ :
[TP T+ [vP [vP Joao saw Maria] [CP after that Joao T entered the room]]]
Copying and merger of Joao:
[TP Joao [T T+ [vP [vP Joao saw Maria] [CP after that Joao T entered the
room]]]]

37 For additional arguments and relevant discussion, see Hornstein (2001), Nunes (2001, 2004),
and Hornstein and Nunes (2002).
38 For data and relevant discussion, see Ferreira (2000, 2004, 2009) and Rodrigues (2004).

4.5 MTC under the copy theory of movement


g.

97

Deletion in the phonological component:


[TP Joao [T T+ [vP [vP Joao saw Maria] [CP after that Joao T entered the
room]]]]

The T-head of the adjunct clause in (72a) is not -complete and therefore cannot
freeze Joao for purposes of A-movement. Joao can then be copied and
merged with vP and receive the external -role of the matrix clause. Crucially,
when sideward movement occurs (cf. [72bc]), CP is an independent tree and
no adjunct violation arises.39
By contrast, if the relevant clause has already been adjoined, the discussion
in section 4.5.1.2 predicts that a CED effect should be detected. That this
prediction is correct is shown by the sentence in (34a), repeated below in (73),
which should involve the illegitimate movement of Joao to the matrix [Spec,
vP] in (74) (with English words).
(73)

(74)

Brazilian Portuguese:
[O Joao disse [que [o bolo [que comeu]] nao estava bom]]
The Joao said that the cake that ate
not was good
Joao said that the cake that he ate was not good
[vP said that [the cake [that Joao T ate]] was not good]

Another correct prediction that the analysis presented in section 4.5.1.2 is


that finite adjunct control should also display sensitivity to locality (cf. [69]),
as illustrated in (75) below. When the adjunct modifies the intermediate clause,
the null subject inside the adjunct can only be interpreted as Maria. If it were
to be interpreted as the matrix subject, Joao would have to be generated in
the adjunct clause, but movement to the matrix [Spec, vP] should then yield a
CED effect (cf. [76] with English words). Therefore, adjunct finite control in
Brazilian Portuguese provides additional evidence that adjunct control should
be analyzed in terms of sideward movement, as argued earlier.
(75)

Brazilian Portuguese:
[O Joao saiu da
sala [depois que a Maria gritou
The Joao left of-the room after that the Maria screamed
porque estava com medo]]
because was with fear
Joao left the room [after Maria screamed because she/ he was scared]

39 Notice that, as in the case of non-finite control, the null embedded subject of (71) cannot be
controlled by the object. This subjectobject asymmetry can therefore also be accounted for
in terms of the merge-over-move economy preference discussed in section 4.5.1.2 (see also
Modesto 2000; Rodrigues 2004; Nunes 2008c; and section 7.3.2.1 below for further discussion).

98
(76)

Empirical advantages
[vP [left the room] [PP after Maria [vP [vP screamed] [because Joao T was
scared]]]]

4.5.1.4 Summary
The above discussion shows that, given some natural minimalist assumptions,
it is possible to assimilate adjunct control to the MTC quite straightforwardly.
The subject orientation observed in adjunct control can be accounted for in
terms of the merge-over-move economy preference, and the fact that the
sideward movement involved in adjunct control is not subject to the CED is
explained in terms of the derivational timing when such movement takes place.
Moreover, we have seen that the account proposed also captures finite adjunct
control. In effect, the MTC offers a complete analysis of adjunct control within
a framework of minimalist assumptions.
We find it interesting that cases of adjunct control can be analyzed in terms
of movement. The reason is that adjunct control cannot be reduced to the thematic requirements of an embedding control predicate (as is standard in cases
of control into complement clauses), as there is no thematic relation between
the matrix verb and the adjunct. Thus, whatever control one finds here cannot
be a function of the properties of the matrix predicate, as is usually assumed in
cases of control into complement clauses. Nonetheless, adjunct control displays
all the diagnostic properties of OC found in control into complements. This
suggests that, at least in adjunct control, the controller is structurally specified.
Moreover, if the properties of OC PROs within adjuncts are structurally determined, then it would be very odd to treat cases of control into complements
(where the very same properties appear) as derived by entirely different operations and in entirely different ways. The MTCs ability to unify complement
and adjunct control thus constitutes another argument in its favor, we believe.
Most other approaches to control, based as they are (at least in part) on selection
properties of the embedding predicate, have had little to say about these cases
despite their having all the signature properties of OC found in the case of
complements.40
4.5.2

The movement theory of control and morphological


restrictions on copies
So far, we have been discussing interesting consequences revolving around the
reinterpretation of the operation move as copy plus merge. We now turn to
40 See sections 7.2 and 7.3.2 below for a detailed discussion of this point.

4.5 MTC under the copy theory of movement

99

other empirical implications of the implementation of the MTC under the copy
theory by inspecting the copies themselves.
Consider the superficially similar constructions in (77) from European
Portuguese.
(77)
a.

b.

European Portuguese (Martins and Nunes 2008):


Custou-me vender a casa
Cost-me sell.INF the house
It saddened me that I/he/she had to sell the house
Custou-me a vender a casa
Cost-me to sell.INF the house
It was hard for me/ him/ her to succeed in selling the house

Martins and Nunes (2008) show that these sentences contrast not only in their
meaning, but also in their structural properties. More specifically, they argue
that the infinitival subject of (77a) has its case licensed clause-internally, but
not the infinitival subject of (77b). Taking the presence or absence of the
preposition a to as a diagnostic for which structure is at stake, they show
that only structures such as (77a) without the preposition allow inflected
infinitives, independent tense, and expletive subjects, as respectively illustrated
in (78).
(78)

European Portuguese (Martins and Nunes 2008):


Custou-me ( a) venderem
a casa
Cost-me to sell.INF.3PL the house
It saddened me that they had to sell the house

It was hard for me to get them to greet the boss


b. Custa-me ( a) te-lo
despedido
Costs-me to have.INF-him fired
It saddens me that I had to fire him

It is hard for me that I succeeded in firing him


c. Custa-nos ( a) haver
pessoas com fome
Costs-us to have.INF people with hunger
It saddens us that there are hungry people

It is hard for us to succeed in causing people to be hungry


a.

Based on these differences, Martins and Nunes propose that (77a) and (77b)
are to be respectively analyzed along the lines of (79) and (80) below (with
English words). In (77a)/(79), the null subject inside the infinitival clause is
a pro, which may be coreferential with the experiencer complement of the
matrix verb. By contrast, the embedded null subject in (77b)/(80) is a trace of
the experiencer; in other words, (77b) is an OC construction.41
41 Martins and Nunes (2008) show that constructions such as (77b) indeed display all the diagnostics of obligatory control, contrasting with constructions like (77a). For instance, as opposed to

100

Empirical advantages

(79)

[TP proexpl cost mei [proi sell the house]]

(80)

[TP proexpl cost mei to [ti sell the house]]

What is relevant for our present discussion is an additional contrast discussed


by Martins and Nunes. Let us first consider the background data in (81)(82).
(81)

European Portuguese (Martins and Nunes 2008):


O Joao levantou-se cedo
The Joao raised.SE early
Joao got up early

a.

b.

Vive-se bem nesta cidade


Lives.SE well in-this city
One lives well in this city

(82)
a.

b.

European Portuguese (Martins and Nunes 2008):


Levanta-se-se cedo neste pas
Raises.SE-SE early in-this country
One gets up early in this country
Pode-se levantar-se cedo neste pas
Can.SE raise.SE early in-this country
One can get up early in this country

Example (81) shows that in Portuguese, the third-person clitic se is ambiguous


between a reflexive, as in (81a), or an indefinite, as in (81b). In turn, (82) shows
constructions such as (77a), constructions such as (77b) require sloppy reading under ellipsis
and de se interpretation in the relevant contexts, as illustrated in (i) and (ii) (see Martins and
Nunes [2008] for the other diagnostics and further discussion).
(i)

European Portuguese (Martins and Nunes 2008):


a. Custou-me beber aquilo e
a ele, custou-lhe tambem
Cost-me
drink that and to him cost-him too
It was hard for me that I had to drink that and it was also hard for him that I/he
had to drink that

b. Custou-me a beber aquilo e


a ele, custou-lhe tambem
Cost-me
to drink that and to him cost-him too
It was hard for me to succeed in drinking that and it was also hard for him to
succeed in drinking that/ in having me drink that
(ii)
European Portuguese (Martins and Nunes 2008):
[Context: an amnesic soldier watches a documentary in which he is the protagonist,
but he does not remember that the person being shown is him himself]
a. Custou-lhe depor
as armas
Cost-him lay-down the arms
It saddened him that the documentary character had to lay down his arms
b. #Custou-lhe a depor
as armas
Cost-him
to lay-down the arms
#It was hard for him to succeed in laying down his arms

4.5 MTC under the copy theory of movement

101

that the two uses cannot coexist within a single clause. Example (82b) further
shows that the problem with (82a) is not that we have two clitics associated
with a single verb. In (82b) the clitics are each associated with a different verb
and an ungrammatical result still obtains as the clitics are co-occurring within
the same clause (the finite verb is a modal auxiliary).
With this restriction in mind, consider now the interesting contrast in (83).
(83)

European Portuguese (Martins and Nunes 2008):


Custou-me levantar-me cedo
Cost-me raise-me
early
Getting up early is hard for me

a.

b.

Custou-me a levantar-me cedo


Cost-me to raise-me
early
It was hard for me to succeed in getting up early

These sentences indicate that the first-person reflexive clitic me can co-occur
with a homophonous experiencer in the matrix clause when control is not
involved (cf. [83a]), but not when OC is at stake (cf. [83b]). In other words,
the OC construction replicates the restriction seen in (82a), where no control is
involved, and the question is why this should be so.
As Martins and Nunes argue, the contrast in (83) can receive a natural
explanation if one adopts the MTC as implemented under the copy theory.
From this perspective, the trace in the OC structure in (80) is a copy of the
matrix experiencer. Thus, the relevant structures associated with (83a) and
(83b) are the ones given in (84) and (85) (with English words and superscripted
indices annotating copies).
(84)

[TP proexpl cost mei [proi [raise me early]]]

(85)

[TP proexpl cost mei to [mei [raise me early]]]

In (83a)/(84) the embedded reflexive has as its clause-mate a pro coreferential


with the matrix experiencer. In the OC construction in (83b)/(85), on the other
hand, the embedded subject is a copy of the experiencer. Thus, we find two
instances of me in the embedded clausal domain in (85), but not in (84). This
indicates that the ungrammaticality of (83b) in effect reduces to the independent
restriction in the morphological component banning two identical clitics in the
same clause seen in (82).
As Martins and Nunes also point out, it is not at all obvious how contrasts
such as the one in (83) can be captured under a PRO-based account, given that
the reflexive and the experiencer should be in different clauses in each of the
sentences in (83), as represented in (86) and (87) (with English words).

102

Empirical advantages

(86)

[TP proexpl cost mei [proi [raise me early]]]

(87)

[TP proexpl cost mei [PROi [raise me early]]]

To conclude, by assuming the MTC and the copy theory, we expect OC


PRO to behave like a regular copy of its antecedent. More precisely, we expect
OC PRO to be subject to whatever computations and restrictions apply to its
antecedent in the phonological component. This is exactly what we find in OC
involving experiencers in European Portuguese. The fact that the morphological
restriction ruling out two identical clitics applies to OC PRO but not to a
coreferential pro strongly indicates that OC PRO is a copy of its antecedent
and, therefore, that OC is derived by copying/movement.
4.5.3
Backward control
So far we have examined customary cases of forward control, in which the
controllee is c-commanded by the controller, as represented in (88) below,
where  is meant to be neutral regarding the grammatical nature of the
controllee. Backward control, as sketched in (89), is also attested in several
languages.
(88) a.
b.

[DP1 V [1 . . . ]]
[DP V DP1 [1 . . . ]]

(89) a.
b.

[1 V [DP1 . . . ]]
[DP V 1 [DP1 . . . ]]

Backward-control constructions have the following two defining properties: (i)


they exhibit a control interpretation in that a single DP is interpreted as being
associated with two or more -roles; and (ii) in overt syntax, the controller
appears in a lower position than the controllee. In this section we discuss
the implications of the existence of backward-control constructions for the
debate on how to better account for OC. We start by indicating the problems
that backward control poses to PRO-based theories and how they can receive a
natural explanation under the MTC. We then proceed to present actual examples
of backward control in two different languages: Tsez and Korean.42
4.5.3.1 Backward control and PRO-based approaches to control
PRO-based approaches assume that control is an inter-chain relation in which
the phonetically unexpressed -role carrier is PRO and that this inter-chain
42 For further illustrations of backward control, see e.g., Polinsky and Potsdam (2002) on Tsez,
Monahan (2003) on Korean, Potsdam (2006) on Malagasy, Alboiu (2007) on Romanian, Haddad
(2007) on Telugu and Assamese, and Alexiadou, Anagnostopoulou, Iordachioaia, and Marchis
(2008) on Greek.

4.5 MTC under the copy theory of movement

103

relation is a species of binding (see Chapter 2). Under this view, the abstract
scheme in (89) takes the form in (90).
(90) a.
b.

[PRO1 V [DP1 . . . ]]
[DP V PRO1 [DP1 . . . ]]

Backward-control configurations as in (90) pose deadly problems for any


account of OC in terms of PRO. Consider the distributional properties of
PRO, for instance. In (90), PRO is allowed to occupy both the subject and the
object position. Moreover, when PRO occupies the subject position, there is no
specific tense restriction on the type of Infl the clause may have. Thus, (90) is
problematic for the standard accounts that tie the distributional properties of
PRO to government (e.g., Chomsky 1981), null Case (e.g., Martin 2001), or
the tense properties of the heads C and T of the clause containing PRO (e.g.,
Landau 2004), for PRO in (90) can appear in governed positions marked with
regular case, regardless of the tense properties of the clause containing it.
When the interpretive properties of control are taken into account, the problems become even more damaging. The standard assumption is that controller
and controllee stand in binding/anaphoric relation. However, PRO-based analyses of backward control are inconsistent with the two central principles of
binding informally described in (91).
(91) a.
b.

Anaphors cannot bind their antecedent.


Anaphors must be bound by their antecedent.

In (90), DP1 fails to bind PRO and hence should not be a potential antecedent
for PRO. Worse still, PRO c-commands DP1 and so should induce a principleC effect and thus be unable to bear the same semantic value as PRO. In
standard cases, this should induce a disjoint reference or strong crossover
effect. Clearly, this is incompatible with the fact that in the relevant languages
and constructions, the structures in (90) manifest the same control relations we
find in (89).
Every theory of binding in the generative tradition has adhered to the principles in (91). We think that it is reasonable to conclude that any theory of
control that must abandon either or both is very unlikely to be correct. PRObased accounts are forced into this uncomfortable situation. More precisely, if
binding generally involves c-command (i.e., if binds then c-commands
) and something like principle C obtains (i.e., if c-commands then cannot bind ), then PRO-based accounts of backward control must violate one or
both of these assumptions. In effect, given the existence of backward control,
PRO-based accounts of control violate the basic principles of binding and so
one or the other must be abandoned. The conservative strategy, especially given

104

Empirical advantages

the straightforward account provided by the MTC, as we will see below, should
be the abandonment of PRO-based theories.
In sum, the existence of backward control creates a serious theoretical conundrum for PRO-based accounts of control. Indeed, standard PRO-based accounts
appear to forbid backward control as they would lead to binding violations. In
this sense, the existence of backward control constitutes a strong counterexample to PRO-based theories of control, not one that is readily massaged
away.
4.5.3.2 Backward control and lower-copy pronunciation
The MTC finds itself in a much more comfortable situation as regards backward
control. Not only can it provide an account of backward control that is consistent
with standard assumptions regarding binding, but backward control is in fact a
phenomenon to be expected when we examine the MTC under the copy theory
of movement.
The reasoning goes as follows. As we have discussed above, movement
under the copy theory reduces to applications of copy and merge, as illustrated
in (92)(93) below. In the general case, when a given structure containing
copies is spelled out, the highest copy is kept and the lower ones are deleted, as
sketched in (94a).43 However, an increasing body of literature has been showing
that it is also possible to find cases where it is the highest copy that gets deleted,
as represented in (94b).44
(92)

K = [......]

(93) a.

Copying of :
K = [......]

Merger of and K:
L = [ [ . . . . . . ]]

b.
(94)
a.
b.

Deletion in the phonological component:


L = [ [ . . . . . . ]]
L = [ [ . . . . . . ]]

Consider the Romanian data in (95) and (96) below, for instance, discussed by Boskovic (2002). Example (95) shows that Romanian is multiple
wh-fronting (MWF). However, the object wh-phrase does not appear to move
43 See Nunes (1995, 1999, 2004) and the collection of papers in Corver and Nunes (2007) for
relevant discussion.
44 See Boskovic and Nunes (2007) and references therein for an extensive review of cases of
lower-copy pronunciation.

4.5 MTC under the copy theory of movement

105

if it is homophonous with the fronted-subject wh-phrase, as illustrated in (96).


Boskovic proposes that Romanian has a low-level PF constraint against adjacent homophonous wh-phrases, which rules out (96b). As for the exceptional
pattern in (96a), Boskovic argues that it also involves multiple wh-fronting
in the syntactic component but, in order to comply with the PF constraint on
adjacent homophonous elements, the higher copy of the object wh-phrase is
deleted and the lower one is pronounced instead, as illustrated in the simplified
structure in (97).
(95)

Romanian (Boskovic 2002):


a. Cine ce
precede?
Who what precedes?
b. Cine precede ce?
Who precedes what?
Who precedes what?

(96)

Romanian (Boskovic 2002):


a. Ce precede ce?
What precedes what?
b. Ce ce
precede?
What what precedes?
What precedes what?

(97)

Deletion in the phonological component:


[ce cei precede cei ]

Given this general scenario, it is easy to observe that the MTC is able to offer a
very simple account of backward control. The abstract syntactic configurations
for forward and backward control in (88) and (89), repeated in (98) and (99)
for convenience, reduce to the configurations in (100) under the copy-theory
implementation of the MTC, where the two instances of DP1 are copies.
(98) a. [DP1 V [1 . . . ]]
b. [DP V DP1 [1 . . . ]]
(99) a. [1 V [DP1 . . . ]]
b. [DP V 1 [DP1 . . . ]]
(100)

Subject- and object-control configurations in the syntactic component:


a. [DP1 V [DP1 . . . ]]
b. [DP V DP1 [DP1 . . . ]]

In other words, the control relation is a chain-internal relation in both forward


and backward control. Their difference is a matter of which copy is phonologically expressed. In the more common case, the lower copy is deleted, as

106

Empirical advantages

shown in (101), yielding forward-control constructions. When the upper copy


is deleted instead, as shown in (102), we have cases of backward control.
(101)

Deletion in the phonological component (forward control):


a. [DP1 V [DP1 . . . ]]
b. [DP V DP1 [DP1 . . . ]]

(102)

Deletion in the phonological component (backward control):


a. [DP1 V [DP1 . . . ]]
b. [DP V DP1 [DP1 . . . ]]

Interestingly and importantly, not only do the problems discussed in


section 4.5.3.1 evaporate in the context of the MTC in conjunction with the
copy theory, but backward control is even to be expected in a minimalist context
where the copy theory obtains. As nothing theoretically prevents the grammatical option of pronouncing lower copies, this possibility constitutes the null
hypothesis. Furthermore, given that there is reasonable empirical evidence in
favor of this option being empirically realized (see footnote 44), it is tempting
to conclude (and we will not resist this temptation) that the null hypothesis
under the copy-theory implementation of the MTC is that backward control
should be an option of UG.
We turn next to illustrations of backward control and the arguments that
support their existence.
4.5.3.3 Empirical illustrations of backward control
Polinsky and Potsdam (2002) document a case of subject backward control in
Tsez, a language of the Caucasus. The example in (103), for instance, illustrates a case of backward subject control, embodying the pattern in (89a)/(99a)
above.45
(103)

Tsez (Polinsky and Potsdam 2002):


bisra]
yoqsi]
[1/ 2 [kidba1 ziya
girl.ERG
cow.ABS feed.INF began
The girl began to feed the cow

The evidence for the proposed structure in (103) with the null subject in the
matrix clause and the overt subject in the embedded one is the following.
First, the matrix verbs in constructions such as (103) are thematic in that they
impose selectional restrictions on their subjects. For instance, they require that
their subjects be [+animate] and [+volitional], thus excluding sentences such
45 Both the verbs -oqa begin and -ica continue in Tsez can occur in configurations such as
(103).

4.5 MTC under the copy theory of movement

107

as (104) below. Furthermore, like standard control verbs, they cannot host
idiomatic expressions, as illustrated in (105).
(104)

Tsez (Polinsky and Potsdam 2002):


a. #kw art-a
c ikay
yexur-a
roq-si
hammer.ERG glass.ABS break.INF begin.PAST.EVID
The hammer began to break the glass
b. #kid-ber hazab
bukad-a yoq-si
girl.DAT suffering.ABS see.INF begin.PAST.EVID
The girl began to suffer

(105)

Tsez (Polinsky and Potsdam 2002):


a. tontoh-a
buq
bac-xo
darkness.ERG sun.ABS eat.PRES
The sun has been eclipsed (lit. Darkness eats the sun)
buq
bac-a boq-xo
b. tontoh-a
darkness.ERG sun.ABS eat.ABS begin.PRES
The eclipse of the sun has begun

Second, the case marking on the overt subject is always that which is found
on subjects in the embedded clause. For example, the verb teqa hear takes a
dative subject regardless of whether it is embedded under -oqa:
(106)

Tsez (Polinsky and Potsdam 2002):


kid-ber
babiw-s
xabar
teq-a
y-oq-si
girl.II.DAT father.GEN story.III.INF hear.INF begin.PAST.EVID
The girl began to hear the fathers story

Third, in Tsez, scrambling is rather free both to the left and the right. However, it is also clause bounded. In particular, scrambling out of an infinitive is
not permitted. With this in mind, scrambling can be used as a diagnostic of sentence structure. In -oqa constructions, the overt subject cannot scramble with
matrix-clause elements, as illustrated in (107) below. Moreover, it is possible
to scramble the whole embedded clause and, when one does, the subject cannot
be left behind but must scramble with the rest of the clause. Thus, from (107a)
we can obtain (108a) but not (108b), and this is what we expect if the overt
subject kidba is part of the complement clause.
(107)

Tsez (Polinsky and Potsdam 2002):


a. hu
[kidba
ziya bisra] yoqsi
yesterday girl.ERG cow feed began
b. kidba
hu
[ziya bisra] yoqsi
girl.ERG yesterday cow feed began
Yesterday the girl began to feed the cow

108
(108)

Empirical advantages
Tsez (Polinsky and Potsdam 2002):
a. hu
yoqsi [kidba
ziya bisra]
yesterday began girl.ERG cow feed
kidba
yoqsi [ziya bisra]
b. hu
yesterday girl.ERG began cow feed
Yesterday the girl began to feed the cow

Finally, let us examine the event quantification in (109) and (110) below.
(109a) is ambiguous with uyrax a tiru four times modifying the embedded
verb (four feedings), as shown in (109b), or the matrix verb (four beginnings), as
shown in (109c). In contrast, (110) only has the reading in which the embedded
clause is modified (four feedings), which is what we would expect if the overt
subject were in the embedded clause.
(109)

(110)

Tsez (Polinsky and Potsdam 2002):


a. uyrax a tiru kidba
ziya bisra yoqsi
fourth time girl.ERG cow feed began
The girl began to feed the cow for the fourth time/The girl began for the
fourth time to feed the cow
b. [uyrax a tiru kidba ziya bisra] yoqsi
c. uyrax a tiru [kidba ziya bisra] yoqsi
Tsez (Polinsky and Potsdam 2002):
kidba
uyrax a tiru ziya bisra yoqsi
girl.ERG fourth time cow feed began
The girl began to feed the cow for the fourth time/ The girl began for the
fourth time to feed the cow

Polinsky and Potsdam present other types of evidence all pointing to the
same conclusions, namely, that in Tsez backward construction the subject
position of the matrix is obligatorily null, thematic, and obligatorily bound by
the embedded overt subject. The copy-theory implementation of the MTC can
account for these facts as follows. The surface form in (111a), for instance, is
derived from the syntactic structure in (111b), where there are two copies of
kidba, followed by deletion of the higher copy in the phonological component,
as shown in (111c).46
46 Polinsky and Potsdam (2002) account for these facts in terms of the MTC by proposing that
backward-control constructions involve covert movement of the embedded subject to the matrix
-position at LF. This also yields the desired LF structure in (111b) for the overt surface form
(111a). However, if one assumes that derivations involve a single cycle, a current minimalist
assumption (see Chomsky 2000), this is not a viable analysis as single-cycle theories reject
LF-movement operations. Overt movement combined with lower-copy interpretation has the
effect of covert LF-movement but without requiring that covert movement exist (see Polinsky
and Postdam [2006] for a discussion of this possibility and comparison with backward subject
raising).

4.5 MTC under the copy theory of movement


(111)

109

Tsez (Polinsky and Potsdam 2002):


a. [[kidba ziya bisra] yoqsi]
girl.ERG cow feed began
The girl began to feed the cow
b. [kidba [kidba ziya bisra] yoqsi]
c. [kidba [kidba ziya bisra] yoqsi]

Polinsky and Potsdam provide independent evidence for the proposed analysis (see footnote 46), based on data such as (112) below. Example (112a) shows
that Tsez reflexives are clause bound. However, a reflexive in the matrix clause
of a backward-control construction can be bound by a DP in a lower clause, as
shown in (112b). This makes perfect sense if the lower DP raises to the matrix
clause and from there binds the reflexive. At the CI interface, there is a copy
of irbahin-a in the matrix subject position licensing the matrix reflexive in
(112b) and this contrasts with (112a), where there is no copy of uza boy in
the matrix clause.
(112)

Tsez (Polinsky and Potsdam 2002):


a. babirk nesa nesirk/ i [uza i utku roda] retin
father REFL.I.DAT boy house build wanted
The father wanted for himself that the boy should build the house
b. nesa nesiri [irbahin-ai
halmaor utku roda] oqsi
REFL.I.DAT Ibrahim.I.DAT friend
house make began
Ibrahim began, for himself, to build a house for his friend

Polinsky and Potsdam offer further elaborations of the proposal sketched


here and discuss various technical issues related to its implementation. However, their main point is twofold. First, that it is quite unclear how the standard theories of control that involve PRO and binding would account for
backward-control constructions. In fact, as noted in section 4.5.3.1, on PRObased approaches to control, backward control should be simply impossible.
And second, it is easy to explain the properties of backward-control phenomena
if one adopts a movement approach to control (even more so under the copy
theory).
Let us now consider a case of object backward control from Korean, as discussed by Monahan (2003).47 In Korean, predicates like seltukha persuade,
sikhita and kangyohata force, chungkohata advise and jeanhata suggest
allow for two kinds of control configurations, which are superficially distinguished by the case of the controller, as illustrated in (113).
47 For further data and discussion, see Monahan (2003) and Polinsky, Monahan, and Kwon (2007).

110
(113)

Empirical advantages
Korean (Monahan 2003):
Chelswu-nun Yenghi-lul/ka
kakey-ey ka-tolok seltukha-ess-ta
Chelswu.TOP Yenghi.ACC/NOM store.LOC go.COMP persuade.PAST.DECL
Chelswu persuaded Yenghi to go to the store

There are two important facts to note concerning (113). First, these sentences
are close paraphrases of one another regardless of whether Yenghi bears
nominative or accusative case. Second, the case Yenghi carries correlates
with whether it resides in the matrix or the embedded clause in overt syntax.
When marked nominative, it patterns like an embedded subject. When marked
accusative, it patterns like a matrix object. Taken together, these pairs of facts
imply that these sentences have the structure in (114), with  indicating a
phonetically null position.
(114)

Korean (Monahan 2003):


a. Chelswu-nun Yenghi-luli [i kakey-ey ka-tolok] seltukha-ess-ta
Chelswu.TOP Yenghi.ACC store.LOC go.COMP persuade.PAST.DECL
b. Chelswu-nun i [Yenghi-kai kakey-ey ka-tolok] seltukha-ess-ta
Chelswu.TOP
Yenghi.NOM store.LOC go.COMP persuade.PAST.DECL
Chelswu persuaded Yenghi to go to the store

The case of interest here is (114b). Sentences like these have the interpretations of object-control constructions but the overt syntax of expect-type
predicates. Thus, like standard object-control constructions and unlike ECM
constructions, their matrix verbs impose animacy restrictions on their complements, as shown in (115), and do not display voice transparency, as illustrated
in (116) (as indicated by the translations, [116a] and [116b] do not paraphrase
one another).
(115)

(116)

Korean (Monahan 2003):


#Chelswu-nun tol-i
tteleci-tolok seltukha-ess-ta
Chelswu.TOP rock.NOM fall.COMP persuade.PAST.DECL
#Chelswu persuaded the rocks to fall
Korean (Monahan 2003):
a. Chelswu-nun Yenghi-ka
Swuyeng-ul intophyu ha-tolok
Chelswu.TOP Yenghi.NOM Swuyeng.ACC interview do.COMP
seltukha-ess-ta
persuade.PAST.DECL
Chelswu persuaded Yenghi to interview Swuyeng
b. Chelswu-nun Swuyeng-i
Yenghi-eykey intephyu pat-tolok
Chelswu.TOP Swuyeng.NOM Yenghi.DAT interview pass.COMP
seltukha-ess-ta
persuade.PAST.DECL
Chelswu persuaded Swuyeng to be interviewed by Yenghi

4.5 MTC under the copy theory of movement

111

On the other hand, there is convincing evidence that the nominative controller
in constructions such as (114b) is located within the embedded clause. First,
the matrix verbs of these constructions only permit accusative marking on their
complement DP, as illustrated in (117) below, which does not have a sentential
complement. Thus, the case of the controller in (114b) must be licensed within
the embedded clause.
(117)

Korean (Monahan 2003):


Chelswu-nun Yenghi-lul/ ka
seltukha-ess-ta
Chelswu.TOP Yenghi.ACC/ NOM persuade.PAST.DECL
Chelswu persuaded Yenghi

Second, the interpretation of temporal adverbs correlates with the case marking on the control DP, as illustrated in (118).
(118)

Korean (Monahan 2003):


nayil
kakey-ey mayil
Chelswu-nun Yenghi-lul/ ka
Chelswu.TOP Yenghi.ACC/ NOM tomorrow store.LOC every-day
ka-tolok
seltukha-l ke-ya
go.COMP persuade.PAST.DECL
Tomorrow Chelswu will persuade Yenghi to go to the store every day

The contrast between the accusative and nominative marking on Yenghi in


(118) follows straightforwardly if the nominative DP resides in the embedded
clause and the accusative DP, in the matrix clause. Under the standard assumption that adverbs can only modify the clauses they are part of, the adverb nayil
tomorrow is in the embedded clause when following the nominative DP and,
therefore, it will clash with the interpretation of mayil every day, leading to
unacceptability. On the other hand, when the controller has accusative case,
nayil can reside in the matrix clause and the sentence is fine.
Third, clausal scrambling must pied-pipe a nominative controller, but not its
accusative counterpart, as shown in (119). Again this can be accounted for if
only the nominative controller is inside the complement clause.
(119)

Korean (Monahan 2003):


Chelswu-nun [kakey-ey ka-tolok]i Yenghi-ka/ -lul ti
Chelswu.TOP store.LOC go.COMP Yenghi.ACC/ NOM
seltukha-ess-ta
persuade.PAST.DECL
Chelswu persuaded Yenghi to go to the store

The upshot of these various considerations is the following. The thematic


properties of the controller are the same irrespective of the case it carries.
However, if marked accusative, it resides in the matrix clause and, if marked

112

Empirical advantages

nominative, it is the subject of the embedded complement. Thus, control clauses


with a nominative controller in Korean are backward-control configurations
and, as argued by Monahan (2003), can be easily accounted for if OC is
movement and if lower copies can be pronounced. In other words, the copy
version of the MTC assigns a single syntactic structure to the two sentences of
(114), for instance, as illustrated in (120).
(120)

[Chelswu-nun Yenghi [Yenghi kakey-ey ka-tolok] seltukha-ess-ta]


Chelswu.TOP Yenghi Yenghi store.LOC go.COMP persuade.PAST.DECL

If the matrix copy is phonetically realized, as illustrated in (121a) below, it


appears with accusative case (cf. [114a]) and we have a standard instance
of forward object control. If the embedded copy is pronounced instead, as
illustrated in (121b), it appears with nominative case (cf. [114b]) and a backward
object-control construction is yielded.48
48 Cormack and Smith (2004) challenge this analysis and propose an alternative based on the
fact that Korean allows clausal scrambling and null objects quite freely. According to them, the
derivation of a sentence like (114b), for instance, involves scrambling of the clausal complement
to the left of a null object pronoun, as represented in (i).
(i) a. [Chelswu-nun [Yenghi-ka1 kakey-ey ka-tolok]2 pro1 t2 seltukha-ess-ta]
b. [DP [TP DP1 . . . ]2 pro1 t2 V]
Although reasonable, there is good evidence to suggest that this alternative does not work
for Korean (we would like to thank Sungshim Hong and Sun-Woong Kim for patient and
invaluable critical discussions concerning these constructions and the data reprised below).
Take the contrast between (ii) and (iiia) below, for instance. Example (ii) does not involve
object control and the embedded nominative quantificational subject cannot bind the null
pronoun inside the matrix adjunct, as the former cannot scope over the latter when not in the
same clause. By contrast, backward-control constructions in (iiia) allow pronominal binding,
which indicates that its matrix object position is occupied not by a null pro, as proposed by
Cormack and Smith, but by a deleted copy of the quantified embedded subject, as represented
in (iiib).
(ii)

pro
1

ttayloin hwuey, Chelswu-nun Yenghi-ka [motun salam1 -i


hit.MOD after Chelswu.TOP Yenghi.ACC everyone.NOM
ttena-tolok] seltukhassta
leave.C
persuaded
After hitting him , Chelswu persuaded Yenghi that everyone left
1
1
(iii) a. pro1 ttaylin
hwuey, Chelswu-nun [motun salam1 -i ttena-tolok] seltukhassta
hit.MOD after Chelswu.TOP everyone.NOM leave.C
persuaded
After hitting him1 John persuaded everyone1 to leave
b. pro1 ttaylin hwuey, Chelswu-nun motun salam1 [motun salam1 -i ttena-tolok]
seltukhassta
In fact, were (ib) the correct structure for Korean backward-control configurations, the relation
between the DP1 and pro would be an instance of coreference and not binding, for the embedded

4.5 MTC under the copy theory of movement

113

(121) a. [Chelswu-nun Yenghi-lul [Yenghi kakey-ey ka-tolok]


Chelswu.TOP Yenghi.ACC Yenghi store.LOC go.COMP
seltukha-ess-ta]
persuade.PAST.DECL
b. [Chelswu-nun Yenghi [Yenghi-ka kakey-ey ka-tolok]
Chelswu.TOP Yenghi Yenghi.NOM store.LOC go.COMP
seltukha-ess-ta]
persuade.PAST.DECL

In sum, the movement analysis of control can treat the nominative version of
the Korean constructions above analogously to the Tsez cases via a process of
overt movement of the embedded subject to the internal -position of the matrix
verb, coupled with pronunciation of the lower copy. It should be stressed that
this is a genuine option within UG once one allows movement to -positions
and adopts the copy theory of movement, eschewing traces in favor of copies.
Like the Tsez data examined earlier, the Korean data discussed above pose a
very serious problem for PRO-based accounts of control, as they would require
that, in backward-control constructions, an anaphor (i.e., PRO) binds the DP
that licenses it, something that is strongly disallowed in all other cases of
binding. Thus, the existence of backward control constitutes, in our view, a
very powerful reason for rejecting PRO-based accounts of control (see section
4.5.3.1). As the MTC is the only current account of control that makes it
subject does not c-command pro. Thus, if the embedded subject in (ib) were quantificational,
then pro would be an E-type pronoun. Note, however, that, although we can have cross-sentential
relations between an overt E-type pronoun and a preceding quantificational expression, as
illustrated in (iv) below, this is not possible with constructions analogous to (ib), as shown
in (v). On the assumption that the null pronoun should function like the overt one in this
case, the unacceptability of (v) again indicates that a null pronoun is not actually available in
backward-control cases such as (114b).
(iv)

(v)

Motun saram-tul-i
ku siktang
pica-lul
coahanta.
All
person.PL.NOM the restaurant.GEN pizza.ACC like.PRS.DECL
Ku-tul-un kakkum keki-e ka-n-ta
they once in while there go
All the people1 like the pizza restaurant. They1 go there once in a while
John-i

[motun salam-i1 ttena-tolok] ku-tul1 seltukhassta


John.NOM everyone.NOM leave.C
they.ACC persuaded
John persuaded everyonei that theyi should leave

Finally, Potsdam (2006) shows that Cormack and Smiths (2004) proposal does not constitute
a general crosslinguistic alternative either, for Malagasy allows backward control but not null
objects (see Potsdam 2006 for data and discussion).

114

Empirical advantages

possible to dispense with OC PRO, the existence of backward control points


ineluctably to the conclusion that some version of the MTC is correct.49

4.5.3.4 Wrapping up
Backward control is not restricted to the languages surveyed, but is in fact
ubiquitous (see the references in footnote 42 and Polinsky and Potsdam 2002
for a brief review). This is of great significance, as backward control poses fatal
problems for PRO-based accounts of control, but is instead expected under a
copy-theory version of the MTC.
As discussed in section 4.5.3.1, in both backward subject-control constructions such as the ones found in Tsez and in backward object-control constructions such as the ones found in Korean, the putative PRO under a PRO-based
account c-commands the controller, being at odds with standard binding principles. Furthermore, it is no longer descriptively accurate to maintain that PRO
only occurs in the subject position of untensed clauses for, in backward objectcontrol constructions, the putative PRO appears in the matrix object position.
We believe that the moral of these constructions is clear: if backward control
exists, then PRO-based analyses of control are incorrect. As we believe that
there is considerable evidence that backward control obtains, it appears to us
that PRO-based accounts are doomed to inadequacy.

49 It is worth pointing out that backward control also argues against mixed theories of control
such as the one in Martin (1996). This proposal resembles the MTC in allowing for a single chain
at LF comprising two -roles. However, it differs from the MTC in having a PRO-like element
that merges into the controlled -position. The single chain is derived from a process wherein
the PRO cliticizes to the controller (or a region very near it) resulting in the unification of the
two disparate chains (i.e., the two chains collapse into one). This proposal has problems with
backward-control cases for it predicts that the phonetic gap will always appear in the lower
position. Unlike the MTC, it cannot rely on the copy theory to provide the right phonological
options as there is no copy of the controlled expression down below, only a PRO-like element.
Similar problems afflict approaches to control like that proposed in Manzini and Roussou (2000)
on the assumption that feature movement cannot be in a downward direction.
Interestingly, a doubling account of control like the analysis of reflexivization in Zwart
(2002), wherein the related DPs are generated together and then one moves away to check
another -role, is compatible with backward-control data. Backward control would result when
the PRO moves to check the controller -role, and regular control results when the doubled
DP moves to check the controller -role. This approach requires allowing rather complex
doubling structures as there is no upper bound on the number of possible PROs in a control
configuration, but this is already required to handle cases of multiple reflexivization in the
envisaged framework.
One last point: this suggests that local reflexivization and OC should be treated via the same
mechanisms, as proposed by Hornstein (2001).

4.5 MTC under the copy theory of movement

115

It is important to observe that backward control also raises challenges for


the MTC, as far as some details of technical implementation go. As we have
noted, backward control is both consistent with the MTC and expected when
the MTC is coupled with the copy theory of movement. This said, a full account
of backward control must also specify what licenses the phonetic interpretation
of copies, be they high or low. We have tacitly assumed, following Polinsky
and Potsdam (2002), Monahan (2003), and Boeckx, Hornstein, and Nunes
(2007, 2008), that case may be the responsible factor. Descriptively speaking,
it appears that, in languages that allow backward control, copying a DP may
leave its case feature stranded (cf. [120]). This is consistent with the idea that
variation is limited to the PF/AP side of the grammar with the LF/CI side
being uniform across languages. However, the details of a full case proposal
are still to be worked out to round out a full account of backward constructions
in the context of the MTC.
Backward control has another useful consequence. Like finite control (see
section 4.4), its existence implies that control complements are clausal. This is
interesting for there is a long tradition within generative grammar suggesting
that control complements are not actually clausal.50 This is plausible when the
(null) controllee is in the embedded clause as there is nothing phonetically
evident in such cases. However, if backward control has all of the properties
of standard control, as appears to be the case, then we can see that control
complements are clausal. After all, we can see the controller sitting in the
embedded clause. It is extremely unlikely (at least it would require a lot of
evidence) that backward control involves clausal complements while forward
control involves VPs or predicates of some kind, for their properties are identical, as we saw in the case of Korean, for example. Theoretically, the properties
of backward control are easy to explain given the copy-theory version of MTC
on the assumption that control complements are clausal. The best conclusion
then is that control complements are indeed clausal and that this fact, made
evident in the case of backward control, holds for control quite generally (see
section 7.2 for further discussion).
4.5.4
Phonetic realization of multiple copies and copy control
Let us now consider another type of control construction which is predicted to
exist by the copy version of the MTC, namely, copy-control constructions.
In the discussion above, we tacitly assumed that, given a series of copies left
by movement, only one gets pronounced at PF. However, any version of the
50 See e.g., Bresnan (1982), Chierchia (1984), and the discussion in section 7.2 below.

116

Empirical advantages

copy theory must account for why realization of multiple copies is forbidden.
The null hypothesis is that all copies should in principle be on an equal footing
with respect to phonetic realization.
Nunes (1995, 1999, 2004) proposes that the ban on phonetic realization of
multiple copies has to do with linearization considerations. The gist of his
proposal is that copies count as the same for purposes of linearization in the
phonological component because they are non-distinct elements (technically,
they relate to the same occurrences of lexical items of the numeration) and
this creates problems. In each of the structures in (122a) and (122b) below,
for instance, the two copies of John (annotated by the superscripted indices)
induce contradictory linearization requirements. The first copy of John in
(122a) must precede was, which must in turn precede the second copy. However, given that these copies are non-distinct, this amounts to saying that John
must precede and be preceded by was, which is a contradictory requirement. The same applies to (122b): John must precede and be preceded by
hoped.
(122) a. [Johni [was [arrested Johni ]]]
b. [Johni [T hoped [Johni to see Mary]]]

To put this somewhat differently, the phonological component demands that


syntactic structure be converted to linear precedence (say, by Kaynes [1994]
LCA), but a chain is a discontinuous object and cannot be mapped onto a
single position at PF. Thus, in order for a structure containing a chain to be
linearized, all of its links but one must be deleted. Thus, the reason that all
copies but one are phonetically null is that, if they were not deleted, derivations
could not converge as they could not be linearized and so would not receive
PF interpretations. As for the choice of the link to survive deletion, we have
already seen in section 4.5.3 that, although the common situation is for the
highest copy to be pronounced, there do exist constructions where a lower
copy is pronounced instead, yielding instances of backward control if the
relevant movement is movement to a thematic position. Again, this fits within
the null hypothesis regarding the copy theory: if a constituent K is a replica
of K and K can be phonetically realized, K can be phonetically realized as
well.
This line of thinking predicts that if copies do not interfere with linearization,
they should in principle be able to surface overtly. Nunes (1999, 2004) argues
that, under certain conditions, this actually happens. Here is the reasoning.
Suppose for instance that, once the syntactic structure in (123a) below, with
two copies of p, is spelled out, the morphological component fuses (in the sense

4.5 MTC under the copy theory of movement

117

of Halle and Marantz 1993) the terminals m and p, yielding the atomic blended
terminal #mp# (or #pm#, for that matter), with no internal structure accessible
to further morphological or syntactic computations, as sketched in (123b).
(123) a. Spelled-out structure:
M
pi

L
r

k
pi

b. Fusion in the morphological component:


M
pi

L
r

k
#mpi #

The content of #mp# in (123b) cannot be directly linearized with respect to r


or the upper copy of p because it is an inaccessible part of #mp#. From an LCA
perspective, for instance, the blended material within #mp# is not accessible to
c-command computations. However, it can be indirectly linearized in (123b)
in virtue of being an integral part of #mp#: given that the upper copy of p
asymmetrically c-commands r and that r asymmetrically c-commands #mp#,
we should obtain the linear order p>r>#mp#. In other words, the material inside
#mp# gets linearized in a way analogous to how the phoneme /l/ is indirectly
linearized in John loves Mary due to its being part of the lexical item loves.
But, crucially, once the lower copy of p in (123b) becomes invisible for standard
linearization computations, the linearization problems caused by the presence
of multiple copies discussed as regards (123) cease to exist. Thus, the structure
in (123b) not only can, but must, surface with two copies of p at PF.
An example should make this idea clear.51 Consider verb clefting in Vata, as
illustrated in (124) below. Koopman (1984) shows that the two verbal occurrences in (124) cannot be separated by islands, which indicates that they should
51 For further illustration, see Nunes (1999, 2004, in press), Boskovic and Nunes (2007), the
collection of papers in Corver and Nunes (2007), and references therein.

118

Empirical advantages

be related by movement. The problem, however, is that, if these occurrences


are to be treated as copies under the copy theory, then it should not be possible to linearize the structure containing them in accordance with the LCA, as
discussed above with respect to (123). Since the pronoun a` we, for example,
asymmetrically c-commands and is asymmetrically c-commanded by (a copy
of) the verb li eat, the LCA should induce the contradictory requirement that
`a precede and be preceded by li.
(124)

Vata (Koopman 1984):


li a` li-da
zue
saka
eat we eat.PAST yesterday rice
We ATE rice yesterday

Nunes (2004) proposes that this possibility does not in fact arise because
the highest copy of the clefted verb gets morphologically fused and thereby
evades the purview of the LCA. More precisely, he analyzes verb clefting in
Vata as involving verb movement to a focus head, followed by fusion in the
morphological component between the moved verb and the focus head, as
represented in (125a) below. Of the three verbal copies in (125a), the LCA only
sees the lower two after the highest copy gets fused with Foc . The lowest
copy is then deleted (cf. [125b]) and the structure is linearized as in (124), with
two copies of the verb phonetically realized.
(125) a. Fusion:
[FocP #[Foc0 Vi [Foc0 Foc ]]# [TP . . . [T0 Vi [T0 T ]] [VP . . . Vi . . . ]]]
b. Deletion of copies:
[FocP #[Foc0 Vi [Foc0 Foc ]]# [TP . . . [T0 Vi [T0 T ]] [VP . . . Vi . . . ]]]

Nunes (2004) presents two pieces of evidence in favor of this account of verb
clefting in Vata. The first one relates to Koopmans (1984: 158) observation that
the restricted set of verbs that cannot undergo clefting in Vata has in common
the property that they cannot serve as input for morphological processes that
apply to other verbs. If these verbs cannot participate in any morphological
process, they certainly should not be able to undergo the morphological fusion
with Foc depicted in (125a) and should not be allowed in predicate clefting constructions. The second piece of evidence is provided by the fact, also
observed by Koopman, that the fronted verb in these focus constructions must
be morphologically unencumbered; in particular, none of the tense or negative
particles that occur with the verb in Infl may appear with the fronted verb, as
illustrated in (126) below. This makes sense if these particles render the verb

4.5 MTC under the copy theory of movement

119

morphologically too complex, thereby preventing the verb from undergoing


fusion with the focus head.
(126)

Vata (Koopman 1984):


a. ( na`-) le wa na`-le-ka
NEG eat they NEG.eat.FT
They will not EAT
b. li( -wa) w`a li-wa zue
eat.TP they eat.TP yesterday
They ATE yesterday

What is relevant for our purposes here is that these restrictions indicate that
the realization of multiple copies should indeed be very sensitive to morphological information, given that multiple copies are only allowed when some copies
get morphologically reanalyzed as being part of a fused terminal. The first kind
of relevant information regards the feature composition of the elements that
are to be fused. After all, not any two terminals can get fused, but only the
ones that satisfy the morphological requirements of one another. In Vata, for
instance, the duplication of focused material only affects verbs and many languages only allow multiple copies of wh-elements. This may be interpreted as
a reflex of the morphological (categorial) restrictions a given head may impose
on the copy with which it may fuse. The second kind of information concerns
morphological complexity. As a rule, the more morphologically complex a
given element is, the less likely it is that it will undergo fusion and become
part of a terminal. Thus, the addition of specific morphemes (which may vary
from language to language) may make the resulting element morphologically
too heavy to become reanalyzed as part of a word. This seems to be what
is going on in (126), with the addition of Infl particles to the fronted verb. Of
course, if a given copy is syntactically complex (i.e., it is phrasal), it is also
morphologically complex and not a good candidate to undergo morphological
fusion.
Now comes the punch line. If multiple copies may be phonetically realized
when fusion allows the linearization problem to be circumvented and if control
is movement, the copy version of the MTC predicts that control constructions
with more than one copy phonetically realized should exist. It also predicts
that such constructions should display hallmarks of fusion such as sensitivity
to morphological information (fusion may or may not take place depending
on the morphological properties of the copies involved) and morphological
complexity (the more morphologically complex a given copy is, the more
unlikely it is to undergo fusion). Boeckx, Hornstein, and Nunes (2007, 2008)
show that these predictions are indeed fulfilled.

120

Empirical advantages

Consider the data in (127) below from San Lucas Quiavin Zapotec, discussed
by Lee (2003).52
(127)

San Lucas Quiavin Zapotec (Lee 2003):


a. R-c`aa` az Gyeeihlly g-auh Gyeeihlly bxaady
HAB.want Mike
IRR.eat Mike
grasshopper
Mike wants to eat grasshopper
b. B-qu`illy
bxuuhahz Gyeeihlly ch-iia Gyeeihlly scweel
PERF.persuade priest
Mike
IRR.go Mike
school
The priest persuaded Mike to go to school
c. B-`illy-ga
Gyeeihlly zicyg`aa nih cay-uhny Gyeeihlly z`ee` iny
PERF.sing-also Mike
while
that PROG.do Mike
work
Mike sang while he worked

Each of the sentences in (127) shows a bound copy in the embedded-subject


position. Interestingly, the similarities of these constructions with standard
control constructions go beyond translation. They also trigger a sloppy reading
under ellipsis, as shown in (128), and the bound copy displays complementarity
with a coreferential pronoun, as shown in (129).
(128)

San Lucas Quiavin Zapotec (Lee 2003):


a. R-c`aa` az Gyeeihlly g-ahcn`ee Gyeeihlly Lia Paamm
HAB.want Mike
IRR.help Mike
FEM Pam
zecy cahgza Lieb
likewise
Felipe
Mike wants to help Pam, and so does Felipe (want to help Pam/ want Mike
to help Pam)
b. Zicyg`aa nih cay-uhny Gyeeihlly z`ee` iny b-`illy-ga
Gyeeihlly
While
that PROG.do Mike
work PERF.sing.also Mike
zecy cahgza Lieb
likewise
Felipe
While Mikei was working, hei sang, and so did Felipek (sing while hek
worked)

52 Hmong also seems to allow structures analogous to (131), as illustrated in (i) below (see Boeckx,
Hornstein, and Nunes 2007, 2008 for relevant discussion).
(i)
a.

b.

c.

Hmong (Quinn 2004)


Pov xav
kom
Pov noj mov
Pov want/think so-that Pov eat rice
Pov wants to eat
Maiv ntxias
Pov kom Pov rov
qab noj
Maiv persuaded Pov so-that Pov return back eat
Maiv persuaded Pov to eat
Pov pais tom qab Pov hais goodbye rau tus
Pov left after back Pov said good-bye to CLF
Pov left after saying good-bye to the woman

mov
rice
pojniam
woman

4.5 MTC under the copy theory of movement


(129)

121

San Lucas Quiavin Zapotec (Felicia Lee, personal communication):


a. R-caaaz Gyeeihlly g-ahcn`ee-eng
Lia Paamm
HAB.want Mike
IRR.help.3SG.PROX FEM Pam
Mikei wants himk/ i to help Pam
b. Zicyg`aa nih cay-uhny-eng
z`ee` iny b-`illy-ga
Gyeeihlly
While
that PROG.do.3SG.PROX work PERF.sing.also Mike
While hei/ k worked, Mikek sang

Hornstein, Boeckx, and Nunes (2007, 2008) argue that the data in (127)(128)
are indeed cases of control, i.e., movement to thematic positions, with both
the controller and the controllee copies phonetically realized. More specifically, they propose that these constructions involve morphological fusion of
the controllee copy with the null self morpheme available in this language.53
As we should expect given the discussion above, if a control chain involves
morphologically encumbered copies, fusion will be blocked and phonetic realization of more than one copy leads to an ungrammatical result. That this
prediction is correct is illustrated by the copy-control constructions in (130a),
which involves a quantifier phrase, and in (130b), whose links contain an
anaphoric possessor.54
(130)

San Lucas Quiavin Zapotec (Lee 2003):


a. Yrata zhy`aap r-c`aa` az g-ahcn`ee yrata zhy`aap Lia Paamm
Every girl
HAB.want IRR.help every girl
FEM Pam
Every girl wants to help Pam
g-auh behts-ni
b. R-eihpy Gyeeihlly behts-ni
HAB.tell Mike
brother.REFL.POSS IRR.eat brother.REFL.POSS
bx:`aady
grasshopper
Mike told his brother to eat grasshoppers

Let us reexamine the adjunct copy-control case in (127c). As discussed


in section 4.5.1, adjunct control involves sideward movement. The fact that
53 Hornstein, Boeckx, and Nunes (2007, 2008) argue that fusion with this null self morpheme is
also what underlies the existence of copy-reflexive constructions in San Luca Quiavin Zapotec
and Hmong (see footnote 52) such as the ones illustrated in (i).
(i) a.

San Luca Quiavin Zapotec (Lee 2003):


B-gwa
Gyeeihlly Gyeeihlly
PERF.shave Mike
Mike
Mike shaved himself
b. Hmong (Mortensen 2003):
Pov yeej
qhuas Pov
Pao always praise Pao
Pao always praises himself
54 See Hornstein, Boeckx, and Nunes (2007, 2008) for details and further discussion.

122

Empirical advantages

sideward movement may also lead to phonetic realization of multiple copies


thus further stresses the point that sideward movement is nothing more than
one of the instantiations of copy plus merge. Interestingly, there are languages
which only allow adjunct copy control, which indicates that the relevant head
that triggers fusion in these languages is within the adjunct clause. In his
detailed study on control structures in Telugu and Assamese, Haddad (2007,
2009) shows that adjunct copy-control constructions such as (131) and (132)
below (CNP stands for conjunctive participle particle) display all the traditional diagnostics of obligatory control and argues that they should also be
analyzed in terms of sideward movement and phonetic realization of multiple
copies.
(131)

Telugu (Haddad 2007):


[[Kumar
sinima cuus-tuu] [Kumar
popkorn tinnaa-Du]]
Kumar.NOM movie watch.CNP Kumar.NOM popcorn ate.3.SG.M
While watching a movie, Kumar ate popcorn

(132)

Assamese (Haddad 2007):


[[Ram-Or khong uth-i]
[Ram-e
mor ghorto bhangil-e]]
Ram.GEN anger raise.CNP Ram.NOM my house destroyed.3
Having got angry, Ram destroyed my house

Given the role of morphological fusion in making the phonetic realization of


multiple copies possible, it comes as no surprise that multiple copies are only
possible if, in Haddads (2007: 87) words, the subject does not exceed one or
two words, as illustrated by the ungrammaticality of (133).
(133)

Telugu (Haddad 2007):


[[Kumar
maryu Sarita
sinim cuu-tuu]
[Kumar
maryu
Kumar.NOM and Sarita.NOM movie watch.CNP Kumar.NOM and
Sarita
popkorn tinna-ru]]
Sarita.NOM popcorn ate
While Kumar and Sarita were watching a movie, they ate popcorn

To summarize, if movement into -positions is possible, we should in principle expect such movement to also yield constructions with multiple copies,
provided that we have evidence that one of the copies is morphologically reanalyzed. The existence of copy-control constructions therefore provides another
(in our view, powerful) argument for the copy version of the MTC, and against
PRO-based accounts of control. After all, what can be more convincing for the
copy version of the MTC than the phonetic realization of both controller and
controllee as copies?

4.6 Conclusion
4.6

123

Conclusion

Counter-examples come in various flavors. A common variety consists of cases


that the theory does not cover, though it seems, intuitively, that it should as the
data are of a piece with those that it does. Also common are cases that appear
to contradict the theory by having a status at odds with what it predicts. In each
case, the theory can be saved by judicious twiddling, appending a codicil that
adds or excludes the relevant problematic data point. Though often tinged with
adhockery, this kind of maneuver is both common and well understood.55
Counter-examples are more serious when more Janus-faced, i.e., when they
are perched between two competing theories and smile towards one but frown
towards the other. In such circumstances, the exceptions prove the rule in the
originally intended sense that the counter-examples for one proposal prove
the second by at once disconfirming the former and confirming the latter.
Methodological kudos does (and should) accrue to theories that are able to
clean up the ad hoc messes of their competitors.
More significant yet are counter-examples that seem to cut to the heart of
a theory. These are surprisingly rare, at least in the linguistics literature.56 In
such cases defusing the counter-example requires reneging on well-established
background principles. Such problematic data are deeply telling for they suggest
either that the favored theory is clearly wrong or that the larger theory in which
it is embedded is in need of extensive revision. Typically, the larger background
assumptions are saved and the more specific proposals sacrificed.
Why this brief divagation into the epistemology of counter-examples?
Because we believe that part of the data discussed in the previous sections
constitute arguments of the strongest type for the debate on obligatory control.
In particular, backward and copy-control constructions prove fatal for accounts
of control that are PRO-based, that is, accounts that assume a primitive expression like PRO which at once bears a -role and has the controller as antecedent.
Or, more precisely, it leads to the conclusion that no PRO-based approach to
control can be right. Moreover, backward and copy control are not only fully
consistent with the MTC, but are in fact expected, given the copy theory of
movement. This in turn leads directly to the conclusion that some version of

55 Nor is it always inappropriate. If a theory is basically correct then an ad hoc addition can be
interpreted as claiming that the putative counter-example is not actually a real one.
56 Examples include Chomskys (1955, 1957) famous arguments against finite-state grammars
and simple phrase-structure grammar as models for linguistic competence. Another plausible
example is the island and subjacency arguments against Chomskys (1982) approach to parasitic
gaps in terms of a functional interpretation of empty categories (see Kayne 1984).

124

Empirical advantages

the MTC must be correct. Finally, given that the only current alternative to
PRO-based accounts of control is the MTC,57 whatever problems of technical
implementation the MTC currently faces cannot be grounds for arguing in favor
of PRO-based accounts.
Before closing this chapter, we would also like to call attention to the fact that
the MTC and the minimalist program snugly fit together conceptually, a feature
of the MTC that we believe to be of more than passing interest. As discussed
in Chapter 3, the MTC fits well with the elimination of DS. Without DS, the
requirement that all -role assignment be prior to all movement operations is
set aside, and this opens the possibility that -roles may also be assigned
under movement. In this chapter, we have shown that the copy theory of
movement makes room for the existence of cases of lower-copy and multiplecopy pronunciation and that the copy implementation of the MTC correctly
predicts that control structures may also exercise these options. In sum, the
MTC follows naturally under central features of the minimalist program: the
elimination of DS and the copy theory of movement. It is in this sense that
the MTC is a quintessentially minimalist account of control. By exploring
the logical consequences of these pillars of the minimalist program, the MTC
not only provides a conceptually well-grounded analysis of control, but also
substantially broadens the empirical coverage of previous analyses. In fact, the
nice fit between the MTC and these minimalist ideas constitutes, we believe,
an additional argument in its favor.
57 Another possible approach would revive some version of the earliest equi-accounts. Baltin
and Barrett (2002) make such a proposal. However, we believe that such an approach only
appears to be different from the MTC. More particularly, an adequate equi-account will have
to incorporate the MTC if it is to overcome the original difficulty for equi-approaches posed by
the contrast between (ia) and (ib) below (see section 2.3). Given that (ia) and (ib) do not mean
the same, distinguishing between the putative deleted instance of everyone in the embedded
clause of (ia) and the non-deleted instance in (ib) requires assuming that only (ib) results from
two selections of everyone in the derivation. But this is just to endorse the MTC. If this is
correct, then equi-accounts are just subspecies of the MTC.
(i) a.
b.

Everyone wants to leave


Everyone wants everyone to leave

5 Empirical challenges and


solutions

5.1

Introduction

In this chapter we discuss a fair sample of the empirical challenges that have
been perceived by many as providing lethal counter-arguments to the MTC.1
We will start with apparent problems that stem from contrasts between
raising and control constructions. Sections 5.2 and 5.3 examine cases where
raising is not allowed, but control is. Sections 5.4 discusses cases in which the
different morphological patterns associated with raising and control have been
interpreted as showing that control constructions involve a case-marked PRO.
In sections 5.5, we examine control constructions involving promise-type verbs
and control-shift phenomena, which appear to be at odds with the minimality
assumptions underlying the MTC. Finally, in sections 5.6 we discuss partial
and split control, which at first sight seem to require the postulation of PRO, as
the controllee appears to be distinct from the controller.
As the reader will see, the apparent problems have more to do with a proper
characterization of the relevant constructions than with the MTC itself. It is
beyond the tenets of this chapter to offer an independent full-fledged account of
each of them. However, we will show that, under very reasonable assumptions
(most of which are standard in GB and/or minimalism), the apparently problematic data can receive a streamlined analysis under the MTC and in many
cases turn out to actually provide compelling evidence in its favor.

5.2

Passives, obligatory control, and Vissers generalization

Landau (2003) has claimed that the MTC overgenerates by incorrectly ruling
in passives of subject-control predicates (see also Kiss 2005 and section 5.2.2
1 See Hornstein (2001, 2003), Boeckx and Hornstein (2003, 2004, 2006a, 2006b, 2007), Nunes
(2007, 2009a, 2010), and Boeckx, Hornstein, and Nunes (in press) for discussion of possible
solutions to other empirical objections that have been raised. For the sake of brevity, here we
will not review details of our earlier attempts to address the issues to be discussed in this chapter.

125

126

Empirical challenges and solutions

below). The argument runs as follows. If the only difference between the
derivation of subject control and raising constructions is that, in the former,
movement of the embedded subject first targets a -position, as illustrated in
(1) and (2) below, control and raising should pattern alike when this -position
is eliminated. Arguably, this is what happens if the subject-control predicate
is passivized. Thus, sentences such as (3a) should be licit under the derivation
sketched in (3b), contrary to fact.
(1) a.
b.

John tried to kiss Mary


[Johni tried [ti to kiss Mary]]

(2) a.
b.

John seems to love Mary


[Johni seems [ti to love Mary]]

(3) a.
b.

John was tried to kiss Mary


[Johni was tried [ti to kiss Mary]]

At the risk of beating a dead horse, we would like to reiterate a point made
in the previous chapters: the MTC is not a raising theory of control. Rather,
it contends that raising and obligatory-control constructions are derived by the
same operation A-movement. So, in order for Landaus argument to be valid,
it should be first demonstrated that the licensing conditions for the relevant
A-movement to apply in (1b), (2b), and (3b) are the same. We show in the next
section that, when the three derivations are carefully inspected, this is actually
not the case.
But before examining these derivations in detail and providing an account of
(3a), let us enlarge our data set. The unacceptability of (3a) is generally taken to
fall under Vissers generalization (see Bresnan 1982), given that object control
and ECM verbs do not shy away from passivization, as illustrated in (4) and (5).
(4) a.
b.

John was persuaded to kiss Mary


[Johni was persuaded [ti to kiss Mary]]

(5) a.
b.

John was expected to kiss Mary


[Johni was expected [ti to kiss Mary]]

Interestingly, the observation that subject-control verbs do not behave like


raising predicates when passivized goes beyond structures involving non-finite
complements. Recall from section 4.4 that Brazilian Portuguese allows both
finite control and hyper-raising, as illustrated in (6) and (7) below. Relevant
to the present discussion is the fact that, if the matrix verb of a finite-control
structure such as (6) is passivized, hyper-raising is blocked, as shown in (8).2
2 See Nunes (2007, 2008a, 2010) for discussion.

5.2 Passives, OC, and Vissers generalization

127

In other words, the contrast between raising and subject control seen in (2) and
(3) also arises when A-movement out of finite clauses is involved. So, whatever
the ultimate analysis for the unacceptability of (3a) is, it should in principle
apply to (8a) as well.
(6)

Brazilian Portuguese:
Os meninos disseram que nao fizeram a tarefa
The boys
said.PL that not did.PL the homework
The boys said that they didnt do their homework
[[Os meninos]i disseram [que ti nao fizeram a tarefa]]

a.

b.
(7)

Brazilian Portuguese:
Os meninos parecem que nao fizeram a tarefa
The boys
seem.PL that not did.PL the homework
It seems that the boys didnt do their homework
[[Os meninos]i parecem [que ti nao fizeram a tarefa]]

a.

b.
(8)

Brazilian Portuguese:
Os meninos foram ditos
que nao fizeram a tarefa
The boys
were said.MASC.PL that not did.PL the homework
It was said that the boys didnt do their homework
b. [[Os meninos]i foram ditos [que ti nao fizeram a tarefa]]
a.

Let us then consider how the MTC can provide an account of the data in
(1)(8) by paying close attention to the licensing conditions involved in each
case where the embedded subject undergoes A-movement to the matrix clause.
5.2.1
Relativizing A-movement
Leaving the discussion of finite control and hyper-raising construction to
section 5.2.3, let us start by considering the derivational step preceding the
movement of the embedded subject to the matrix clause in the derivations of
(1)(5), as sketched in (9)(13) (irrelevant details omitted).
(9) a.
b.

John tried to kiss Mary


[vP v [VP tried [CP C [TP John to kiss Mary]]]]

(10) a.
b.
(11) a.
b.

John seems to love Mary


[TP T [VP seems [TP John to love Mary]]]

John was tried to kiss Mary


[PpleP -en [VP tried [CP C [TP John to kiss Mary]]]]

(12) a.
b.

John was persuaded to kiss Mary


[VP persuaded [CP C [TP John to kiss Mary]]]

(13) a.
b.

John was expected to kiss Mary


[PpleP -en [VP expected [TP John to kiss Mary]]]

128

Empirical challenges and solutions

In (9b) and (12b), the trigger for the movement of John is -related: the
matrix light verb in (9b) and the matrix main verb in (12b) need to assign their
remaining -role. Movement in (10b), (11b), and (13b), on the other hand, is
motivated by agreement in -features with a finite T or a passive participial
head.3
Let us first examine the instances of A-movement triggered by -agreement.
One salient difference between the structures where such movement is allowed
(cf. [10b] and [13b]) and the one where it is not (cf. [11b]) has to do with
the categorial nature of the embedded clause. Under standard assumptions,
raising and ECM verbs select for TP, whereas control verbs select for CP.
Nunes (2007, 2010) argues that this difference is what underlies the contrast
between (10b) and (13b), on the one hand, and (11b), on the other. Assuming
with Chomsky (2008) that clausal -features are actually hosted by C (they
are associated with T only by inheritance from C), Nunes proposes that the
agreement relation between -en and John in (11b) is blocked due to the
intervention of C, as depicted in (14) below.4 More specifically, if movement
of John is to be anchored on -agreement, the intervening -features of
C induce a minimality violation. Once John is prevented from undergoing
A-movement, it cannot have its case feature checked/valued (the embedded
C/T is not a case checker/assigner) and the derivation crashes.
(14)

[PpleP -en [VP tried [CP C [TP John to kiss Mary]]]]

By contrast, (10b) and (13b) involve no CP layer in the embedded clause.


Thus, movement of John couched on -agreement is licit, for there is no
intervening -feature bearer, as respectively shown in (15) and (16).
(15)

[TP Johni T [VP seems [TP ti to love Mary]]]

OK

(16)

[PpleP Johni -en [VP expected [TP ti to kiss Mary]]]

OK

3 We assume with Chomsky (2000, 2001) that case checking is contingent on -agreement and
that passive participial heads are associated with (defective) -features (and case) regardless of
whether or not these features are overtly realized.
4 Notice that passivization of the whole clause may yield an acceptable result, as exemplified
in (i).
(i)

To kiss Mary was tried (by John) repeatedly throughout the evening

5.2 Passives, OC, and Vissers generalization

129

Similar considerations apply to the derivation of long passives in German


such as (17) below. Wurmbrand (2001) uses contrasts such as the one in (18)
between an impersonal and a long passive to argue that, in long passives, the
matrix control verb is a restructuring verb that takes VP for a complement. Once
these complements involve just the lower shell of the verbal skeleton, there is
no appropriate antecedent to license the anaphor; hence the unacceptability of
(18b).
(17)

German (Wurmbrand 2001):


dass die Traktoren
zu reparieren versucht wurden
that the tractors.NOM to repair
tried
were
that they tried to repair the tractors

(18)

German (Wurmbrand 2001):


Es wurde versucht [PROi sichi den Fisch mit Streifen
vorzustellen]
It was tried
SELF the fish with stripes.ACC to-imagine
They tried to imagine what the fish would look like with stripes

a.

b.

weil {sich} der Fisch


{sich} vorzustellen versucht wurde
since SELF the fish.NOM SELF to-imagine tried
was
since they tried to recall the image of the fish

Assuming that Wurmbrands analysis of long passives is correct (see


section 5.2.2 below for a discussion of impersonal passives), the relevant
derivational step underlying (17) is as sketched in (19) (with English words
for convenience). -agreement with the passive participial head can license
A-movement of the embedded object in (19), for there is no intervening element that hosts -features.
(19)

[PpleP -en [VP tried [VP repair [the tractor]]]]


OK

As Nunes points out, given this relativized minimality approach to Amovement, the acceptability of (12a) becomes very illuminating. Although
there is a CP layer in the complement clause (cf. [12b]), movement of the
embedded subject is motivated by -considerations, not -agreement. Hence,
the -features of C do not block the movement of John, as represented in (20a)
below. Later on, when the passive participial head is introduced, as shown in
(20b), John has already moved out of the CP and can therefore enter into an
agreement with -en and move to the [Spec, PpleP] without any problems, as
there are no intervening elements bearing -features. In other words, movement for -reasons in (20a) provides an escape hatch for John to enter into
-agreement relations later in the derivation.

130

Empirical challenges and solutions

(20) a.
b.

[VP Johni persuaded [CP C [TP ti to kiss Mary]]]

OK
[PpleP en [VP Johni persuaded [CP C [TP ti to kiss Mary]]]]
OK

Let us now examine the instances of A-movement for -purposes in (9b)


and (12b) more closely. Given the blocking role played by C with respect
to -agreement, one wonders why it does not act as a proper intervener for
the movement of John. After all, C gets -marked as it is the head of the
complement of the matrix lexical verb. There are two possible approaches to
this issue. Under the first one, C does not qualify as a proper intervener because
CP is not an appropriate element to carry the external -role assigned by the
matrix light verb in (9b) or the experiencer -role assigned by persuaded in
(12b); propositions are simply incompatible with these -roles. Alternatively,
we may assume, following Abels (2003) and Grohmann (2003), that movement
cannot be too local. Thus, a given element cannot resort to movement to check
two -roles inside the same thematic domain for reasons of anti-locality. If so,
once CP is not an eligible candidate to receive the unassigned -role of (9b) and
(12b), C does not count as a proper intervener for movement of the embedded
subject. We will leave the choice between these two approaches for another
occasion. Suffice it to say that either of them correctly allows movement of an
embedded subject to a -position in control configurations.
In sum, Nuness (2007, 2010) analysis makes it clear that the lack of passivization of subject-control verbs is not at all a problem for the MTC. Quite the
opposite! This account of Vissers generalization in fact provides an answer for
another of Landaus criticisms. Landau (2003: 488) claims that the MTC does
not seem able to account for the crosslinguistic generalization that infinitival
complementizers are found in control structures, but not in raising structures.
This empirical generalization is illustrated by the contrast in Hebrew in (21)
below involving the verb xadal stop, cease, which is ambiguous between a
control and a raising verb. Example (21a) involves an animate subject and the
infinitival complementizer me- is possible, whereas (21b) has an inanimate subject and me- is blocked. As Landau points out, given the connection between
infinitival complementizers and control, the contrast in (21) is to be expected,
for in general only animate DPs can be controllers.
(21)
a.

Hebrew (Landau 2003):


Rina xadla (me-)leacben
et
Gil
Rina stopped (from-)to-irritate ACC Gil
Rina stopped irritating Gil

5.2 Passives, OC, and Vissers generalization

131

Ha-muzika ha-roeset xadla ( me-)leacben et


Gil
The-music the-noisy stopped (from-)to-irritate ACC Gil
The loud music stopped irritating Gil

b.

Nuness (2007, 2010) proposal reviewed above provides a straightforward


account of this generalization. If an infinitival clause has a CP layer, its subject
will not be able to undergo A-movement for agreement/case purposes due to the
intervention of C (a -feature carrier). Hence, standard raising constructions are
incompatible with (-feature-bearing) complementizers (but see section 5.2.3
for further discussion). By contrast, if the movement is -related, C does
not count as an intervener; hence control structures may involve an overt
complementizer.
The proposal reviewed above also provides an answer to a related challenge
posed by van Craenenbroeck, Rooryck, and van den Wyngaerd (2005). Their
reasoning is the following. If John can move in the control structure in (22a)
because it does not have its case feature checked, why can it not move in (22b)
on a par with the raising derivation in (22c)?
(22) a.
b.
c.

[Johni tried [ti to win]]


[Johni is important [ti to win]]
[Johni is likely [ti to win]]

Again, the fact that the three sentences above can be derived through Amovement does not entail that the relevant movements have the same motivations (and restrictions) or that the structural configurations are kept constant.
In the case of (22), movement of John is sanctioned by -reasons in (22a), but
by -agreement reasons in (22b) and (22c). Moreover, under standard assumptions, the control and the impersonal constructions in (22a) and (22b) involve
CP infinitivals, whereas the raising construction in (22c) involves a TP infinitival, as respectively shown in (23) below. Once these points are disentangled, it
is easy to see that movement of John is legitimate in (23a) (the -features of
C do not induce an intervention effect for -related movements) and in (23c)
(there is no intervener bearing -features), but not in (23b), for the -features
of C induce a minimality effect.
(23) a.

[vP v [VP tried [CP C [TP John to win]]]]

OK

b.

[TP is-T important [CP C [TP John to win]]]

c.

[TP is-T likely [TP John to win]]

OK

132

Empirical challenges and solutions

Let us now consider how this proposal can be extended to impersonal passives, which have also been claimed to offer deadly counter-evidence to the
MTC.
5.2.2
Impersonal passives
Kiss (2005) claims that German impersonal passives pose two types of problems
for the MTC. The first one involves contrasts such as the one in (24) below. (24a)
shows that, just as we saw in English, passivization of an embedded subject
in a subject-control structure is disallowed in German. In turn, (24b) is taken
to show that, if no movement takes place, the matrix subject-control verb can
appear in the passive voice, yielding an impersonal construction. Interestingly,
however, the interpretation of (24b) is that the implicit argument of the matrix
verb controls the external argument of the embedded verb.
(24)
a.

b.

German (Kiss 2005):


Der Mann wurde
zu tanzen gewunscht
The man PASS.AUX.3SG to dance wished
Es wurde
gewunscht zu tanzen
It PASS.AUX.3SG wished
to dance

The second potential counter-argument has a familiar format. Although a


passivized subject-control verb cannot take an impersonal passive for a complement, as seen in (25a), a raising verb can, as shown in (25b).
(25)
a.

b.

German (Kiss 2005):


Es wurde
gewunscht getanzt zu werden
It PASS.AUX.3SG wished
danced to PASS.AUX.INF
Somebody wished to dance
Es scheint getanzt zu werden
It seems danced to PASS.AUX.INF
It seems that someone is dancing

It seems to us that, despite their intrinsic interest, the contrasts in (24) and
(25) are more relevant to a proper analysis of (impersonal) passives, than to
control per se. In other words, before analyzing (24) and (25), one must first
establish the relevant property that languages like German have that allows a
simple impersonal passive such as (26) below. It is beyond the scope of this
volume to provide such an analysis. For concreteness, we will assume the gist
of Baker, Johnson, and Robertss (1989) proposal and show that the analysis
of Vissers generalization reviewed in section 5.2.1 also accounts for contrasts
such as (24) and (25).

5.2 Passives, OC, and Vissers generalization


(26)

133

German (Jaeggli 1986):


Es wurde getanzt
It was danced
There was dancing

Baker, Johnson, and Roberts propose that the passive morpheme is a clitic
of sorts which is assigned the external -role of the predicate and is doubled
either by a by-phrase or by an empty category (IMP). According to them,
the contrast between English and German with respect to impersonal passives
is due to the different case-licensing possibilities the passive morpheme has in
each language: accusative in English and accusative or nominative in German.
Adapting Baker, Johnson, and Robertss proposal and updating it in current
parlance, we take the passive morpheme to be a type of light verb with one
distinctive property: its external argument may be null (IMP) or realized as a
by-phrase.5 As for the difference between English and German, we assume that
in English IMP is licensed by structural (accusative) case, whereas in German
IMP can be licensed by either structural or inherent case. Under this view, the
impersonal passive in (26) is to be represented as in (27) (with English words),
where -en assigns the external -role and inherent case to IMP.
(27)

[it was [vP IMP [v -en [VP danced]]]]

Assuming an analysis along the lines of (27), let us now return to (24).
Example (24a) is basically subject to the same analysis applied to English in
section 5.2.1. That is, given the configuration in (28) (with English words),
movement of the embedded subject to the outer Spec of -en for purposes of
-agreement (see footnote 5) is blocked by the -features of C.
(28)

[vP IMP [v -en [VP wished [CP C [TP [the man] to dance]]]]]

One could ask what prevents the embedded subject from moving to the
matrix [Spec, vP] to receive the external -role assigned by -en in a derivation
5 From this perspective, the derivation of a standard passive such as (i) below proceeds along the
lines of (ii). Notice that movement of the object to [Spec, TP] first stops in the outer Spec of vP
(cf. [iib]). This intermediate step circumvents a potential minimality violation induced by IMP
in the inner [Spec, vP], as the two Specs are equidistant.
(i)

John was arrested

(ii) a.
b.
c.
d.

[vP IMP [v -en [VP arrested John]]]


[vP Johni [v IMP [v -en [VP arrested ti ]]]]
[TP was-T [vP Johni [v IMP [v -en [VP arrested ti ]]]]]
[TP Johni was-T [vP ti [v IMP [v -en [VP arrested ti ]]]]]

134

Empirical challenges and solutions

without IMP. The answer should be: Nothing! for the -features of C are
oblivious to -related movements. However, if -en assigns its external -role
to an overt DP, it gets morphologically realized as a by-phrase, which is not
the case in (24a). In other words, this hypothesized derivation is what actually
underlies impersonal sentences such as (29), as sketched in (30) (with English
words).
(29)

German (Kiss 2005):


Es wurde
von dem Mann gewunscht, zu dem Treffen
It PASS.AUX.3SG by the man wished
to the meeting
zu kommen
to come
The man wished to join the meeting

(30)
[it was [vP [the man]i [v -en [VP wished [CP C [TP ti to come to the meeting]]]]]]

OK

As for (24b), its derivation proceeds as in (31) below (with English words).
IMP is generated in the embedded clause, where it receives the external role of the embedded predicate, and further computations yield the structure
in (31a). Notice that (31a) is the typical configuration for subject control to
obtain: the matrix light verb (the passive -en) still has to assign its external
-role and the embedded subject is still active for purposes of A-movement as
it has not checked its case yet. The embedded subject then moves to [Spec, vP],
as shown in (31b), where it receives another -role and inherent case from -en.
Crucially, movement of IMP in (31b) is triggered by -considerations and the
-features of C do not render it a proper intervener for such a movement.
(31) a.
b.

[vP -en [VP wished [CP C [TP IMP to dance]]]]


[vP IMPi [v -en [VP wished [CP C [TP ti to dance]]]]]

OK

Let us now examine the contrast in (25), starting with the grammatical raising
construction in (25b). The derivation starts by building an impersonal passive,
as shown in (32a) below (with English words), where IMP receives inherent
case from -en. Further computations then assemble the infinitival TP in (32b),
which must have its EPP-feature checked. Assuming that inherently casemarked elements are inert for purposes of A-movement (see e.g., McGinnis
1998; Hornstein and Nunes 2002; and Rezac 2004), IMP becomes inert after
it receives inherent case and cannot move to check the EPP in (32b). Expletive

5.2 Passives, OC, and Vissers generalization

135

insertion solves this problem, as shown in (32c). After (32d) is built, the
expletive then moves to check the EPP and the -features of the matrix T,
yielding the convergent result in (32e). No minimality issue arises, as there is
no CP layer in a standard raising configuration.
(32) a.
b.
c.
d.
e.

[vP IMP [v -en [VP danced]]]


[TP toEPP be [vP IMP [v -en [VP danced]]]]
[TP it to be [vP IMP [v -en [VP danced]]]]
[TP T [VP seems [TP it to be [vP IMP [v -en [VP danced]]]]]]
[TP iti T [VP seems [TP ti to be [vP IMP [v -en [VP danced]]]]]]

Finally, let us see what goes wrong with (25a). Its derivation proceeds in an
identical fashion to the derivation of (25b) until the point when (33a) below is
formed (cf. [32c]). Further applications of merge then yield (33b). The matrix
-en in (33b) has to assign its external -role. The embedded subject cannot
move to receive this -role because it is an expletive. In turn, IMP in (33b)
is a potential -role bearer but it has already received inherent case from the
lower -en and has become inert for purposes of A-movement. In addition, it
intervenes between the matrix and the embedded [Spec, vP]. So the matrix -en
can only assign its external -role if another IMP is merged in its Spec, as
represented in (33c). An unsolvable problem then shows up in (33d), after the
matrix T is introduced in the derivation. The embedded expletive still has its
case unchecked but it cannot enter into an agreement relation with the matrix
T due to the intervention of the -features of C; hence the unacceptability of
(25a).
(33)
a.
b.
c.
d.

[TP it to be [vP IMP [v -en [VP danced]]]]


[vP -en [VP wish [CP C [TP it to be [vP IMP [v -en [VP dance]]]]]]]
[vP IMP [v -en [VP wish [CP C [TP it to be [vP IMP [v -en [VP dance]]]]]]]]
[TP T [vP IMP [v -en [VP wish [CP C [TP it to be [vP IMP [v -en [VP dance]]]]]]]]]

There are a couple of details to spell out in the approach outlined above,
such as the nature of Baker, Johnson, and Robertss (1989) empty category
IMP, postulated to represent the external argument in passives.6 But we would
like to emphasize that such details have to do with the ultimate analysis of
passives and not directly with obligatory control. The important point to bear
in mind is that, upon close inspection, the puzzling contrasts in (24) and (25)
6 See Baker, Johnson, and Roberts (1989: 228229) for some remarks on the similarities and
differences between IMP and arbitrary PRO.

136

Empirical challenges and solutions

prove to be amenable to a streamlined MTC approach. Rather than being fatal


counter-evidence to the MTC, the data involving impersonal passives brought
up by Kiss (2005) actually turn out to lend support to the MTC and the approach
to Vissers generalization in terms of minimality discussed in section 5.2.1.
5.2.3
Finite control vs. hyper-raising
Let us now return to the contrast between passivization involving finite control
and hyper-raising in Brazilian Portuguese, as illustrated in (34).
(34)
a.

b.

Brazilian Portuguese:
Os meninos foram ditos
que nao fizeram a tarefa
The boys
were said.MASC.PL that not did.PL the homework
It was said that the boys didnt do their homework
Os meninos parecem que nao fizeram a tarefa
The boys
seem.PL that not did.PL the homework
It seems that the boys didnt do their homework

From the perspective of the approach to Vissers generalization reviewed in


section 5.2.1, the unacceptability of (34a) is not surprising. Given the configuration in (35) below (with English words), movement of the embedded subject
for purposes of -agreement is blocked by the intervening -features of C. The
unexpected case is the hyper-raising construction in (34b), which also involves
A-movement for -agreement purposes across a -feature bearing C, as represented in (36). The question then is why the movement depicted in (36) does
not yield a minimality effect.
(35)

[vP [the boys] [v pro [v -en [VP said [CP that [TP t didnt do the

homework]]]]]]
[TP [the boys] T [VP seem [CP that [TP t didnt do the homework]]]]

(36)

Nunes (2007, 2008a, 2010) proposes that the contrast between (34a) and
(34b) is related to an interesting correlation between movement of the embedded subject and movement of the embedded clause. As shown in (37)(40),
movement of the embedded subject for purposes of -agreement is possible
just in case the embedded CP cannot move.
(37)
a.

Brazilian Portuguese (Nunes 2008a):


Parece [que os meninos fizeram a tarefa]
Seems that the boys
did
the homework
It seems that the boys did their homework

5.2 Passives, OC, and Vissers generalization


b.

c.

Brazilian Portuguese (Nunes 2008a):


Acabou [que os estudantes viajaram mais cedo]
Finished that the students traveled more early
It turned out that the students traveled earlier

a.

(39)

Brazilian Portuguese (Nunes 2008a):


Periga
[que aqueles funcionarios vao ser demitidos]
Is-in-danger that those employees go be fired

a.

[[Que aqueles funcionarios vao ser demitidos]i periga ti ]


That those employees go be fired
is-in-danger
Those employees are in danger of being fired
[[Aqueles funcionarios]] perigam
que ti vao ser demitidos
Those
employees
are-in-danger that go be fired
Those employees are in danger of being fired

c.

(40)

Brazilian Portuguese (Nunes 2008a):


Nao foi dito/mencionado [que os meninos fizeram a tarefa]
Not was said/mentioned that the boys
did
the homework
It was not said/mentioned that the boys did their homework

a.

b.

c.

[[Que os estudantes viajaram mais cedo]i acabou ti ]


That the students traveled more early finished
It turned out that the students traveled earlier
[[Os estudantes]i acabaram que ti viajaram mais cedo]
The students
finished that traveled more early
The students ended up traveling earlier

c.

b.

[[Que os meninos fizeram a tarefa]i


parece ti ]
That the boys
did
the homework seems
It seems that the boys did the homework
[[Os meninos]i parecem que ti fizeram a tarefa]
The boys
seem
that did
the homework
The boys seem to have done the homework

(38)

b.

137

[[Que os meninos fizeram a tarefa]i


nao foi dito/mencionado ti ]
That the boys
did
the homework not was said/mentioned
That the boys did their homework was not said/mentioned

[[Os meninos]i nao foram ditos/mencionados que ti fizeram a tarefa]


The boys
not were said/mentioned
that did
the homework
It was not said/mentioned that the boys did their homework

Again, the contrast between (40b) and (40c) follows straightforwardly. If the
embedded C counts as an intervener for -related movement, ruling out (40c)
(cf. [35]), it is not surprising that its projection can indeed undergo movement

138

Empirical challenges and solutions

for -agreement purposes, as in (40b).7 The challenge is to determine what


renders the embedded C in (37b)/(38b)/(39b) inert for purposes of -agreement,
thereby freezing movement of the embedded CP and freeing movement of the
embedded subject (cf. [37c]/[38c]/[39c]).
Nunes (2007, 2008a, 2010) argues that this issue is related to the well-known
fact that English experiencers in raising constructions do not block movement
(cf. [41a]/[42a] below), despite the fact that they arguably c-command into
the raising domain, inducing principle-C effects (cf. [41b]/[42b]). Under the
assumption that the experiencers in (41) and (42) are assigned inherent case
by the raising verb, they become immobile for A-purposes and do not count as
proper intervener for the movement of Mary in (41a) and (42b).
(41) a.
b.

Maryi seems to him [ti to be nice]


It seems to himi that Johni is nice

(42) a.
b.

Maryi struck him [ti as a fool]


It struck himi that Johni was a fool

Returning to (37b)/(38b)/(39b), Nunes proposes that verbs like parecer


seem, acabar turn out, and perigar be on the verge of in Brazilian Portuguese assign inherent case to the head of their CP complements. Once C is
assigned inherent case, it should behave like the experiencers of (41) and (42).
In other words, it becomes inert for purposes of -agreement, which accounts
for the immobility of the CP. In turn, if C is inert for -agreement purposes,
it does not block movement of the embedded subject, as sketched in (43),
allowing for hyper-raising.8
7 Alternatively, Nunes (2007) has proposed an account of the paradigm in (37)(40) based on
Hornsteins (2009) reinterpretation of Chomskys (1964) A-over-A condition in terms of paths.
The idea is that if the embedded CP and the embedded subject can both undergo A-movement to
participate in a given -agreement relation, movement of CP blocks movement of the embedded
subject as it defines a shorter path towards the targeted specifier. We will leave a comparison
between the A-over-A and the c-command approaches to another occasion.
8 As observed by Nunes (2008a), this proposal is able to accommodate some micro-variation
among speakers. For instance, (39c) is not as acceptable as (37c) for some speakers. Given
that inherent case is a lexical property that is to some extent idiosyncratic, variation across
speakers with respect to the lexical idiosyncrasies of specific impersonal predicates is therefore
unsurprising.
Recall also that finite Ts in Brazilian Portuguese may be -incomplete (see section 4.4).
The ungrammaticality of the passive construction in (40c) thus indicates that C counts as an
intervener for -purposes regardless of whether it is -complete or -incomplete (see Nunes
2008a for discussion). Only when it receives inherent case does it become transparent (the same
considerations apply to the impersonal constructions in [46] and [47] below).

5.2 Passives, OC, and Vissers generalization


(43)

139

[TP DPi T [VP parece/acabou/periga [CP queinherent case [TP ti . . . ]]]]


seems/turned out/is on the verge of that

OK

Nunes presents two pieces of evidence for this proposal. The first one involves
the contrast between (37) and (44), where parecer takes a small clause as its
complement.
(44)

Brazilian Portuguese (Nunes 2008a):


Parece o bvio que eles viajaram
Seems obvious that they traveled
It seems obvious that they traveled

a.

Que eles viajaram parece o bvio


That they traveled seems obvious
That they traveled seems obvious

b.

c.

Eles parecem o bvios que viajaram


They seem
obvious that traveled
It seems obvious that they traveled

In (44) CP is not an argument of parecer seem but of o bvio obvious. Thus,


parecer cannot assign inherent case to CP and the embedded C is active for
purposes of -agreement relations. Accordingly, CP can move (cf. [44b]) and
hyper-raising is blocked (cf. [44c]) due to the intervention of C, as sketched
in (45).
(45)

[TP DPi T [VP parece [SC o bvio [CP que [TP ti . . . ]]]]]
seems
obvious that

The second piece of evidence regards the paradigm in (46)(47).


It is also worth pointing out that assigning inherent case to C is a necessary, but not sufficient,
condition for hyper-raising to be permitted. Given that the embedded clause of (ia) below
is immobile, it is arguably the case that seem in English also assigns inherent case to its
complement CP. However, hyper-raising is not allowed in English (cf. [ib]), as is well known.
The relevant difference between English and Brazilian Portuguese is that finite Ts assign case
to their subjects obligatorily in English, but optionally in Brazilian Portuguese (see Ferreira
2000, 2004, 2009; Rodrigues 2004, 2007; and Nunes 2008a). Thus, even though inherent-case
assignment to the embedded C in (ib) makes it transparent for purposes of A-movement, the
embedded subject has already checked/valued its case and is inactive for A-movement purposes.
By contrast, in Brazilian Portuguese the embedded subject may be active if the embedded finite
T is associated with an incomplete set of -features (see section 4.4).
(i) a.
b.

[[that

John left]i seems ti ]


seems [that ti left]]

[John
i

140

Empirical challenges and solutions

(46)

Brazilian Portuguese (Nunes 2008a):


E facil/difcil (d)esses professores elogiarem os alunos
Is easy/difficult of-these teachers
praise.3PL the students
Its easy/hard for these teachers to praise the students

a.

Esses professores sao faceis/difceis (de) elogiarem os alunos


These teachers
are easy/difficult of praise.3PL the students
These teachers often/rarely praise the students

b.

(47)

Brazilian Portuguese (Nunes 2008a):


E bem
provavel/lamentavel ( d)os professores terem
elogiado
Is very
probable/regrettable of-the teachers
have.3PL praised
o diretor
the director

a.

b.

Os professores sao bem provaveis/lamentaveis de terem


elogiado
The teachers
are very probable/regrettable of have.3PL praised
o diretor
the director
It is very likely/regrettable that the teachers praised the director

Examples (46a) and (47a) show that impersonal predicates such as to be easy/
hard in Brazilian Portuguese allow the dummy preposition de of to precede their infinitival complements, whereas predicates such as to be probable/regrettable do not. In turn, (46b) and (47b) show that only the predicates that
license the dummy preposition admit hyper-raising. Importantly, hyper-raising
can only take place in the presence of the dummy preposition (cf. [46b]).
Nunes takes de to be a realization of inherent case, which is (optionally)
assigned by some impersonal predicates to their CP complements. If de is not
present or is not licensed, movement of the embedded subject is blocked by C,
as shown in (48) below. By contrast, if de is present, C is assigned inherent
case, thereby becoming inert for A-movement, and does not block movement
of the embedded subject, as sketched in (49). As we should expect given the
present analysis, movement of the infinitival is possible just in case de is not
present, as illustrated in (50).
(48)

[TP DPi T is easy/difficult/probable/regrettable [CP C [TP ti . . . ]]]

(49)

[TP DPi T is easy/difficult de [CP Cinherent case [TP ti . . . ]]]

OK

(50)

Brazilian Portuguese (Nunes 2008a):


( D)esses professores elogiarem alguem e (bem) facil/difcil
Of-these teachers
praise.3PL someone is well easy/difficult
These teachers easily/rarely praise someone

5.3 Nominals and control

141

To wrap up, the contrast between passivization of finite-control structures


and hyper-raising in Brazilian Portuguese (cf. [34a] vs. [34b]) is due to an independent property, namely, the fact that an element marked with inherent case
is inert for A-relations. Once this independent fact is taken into account, finitecontrol and hyper-raising structures in Brazilian Portuguese behave exactly as
the MTC predicts.

5.3

Nominals and control

In this section, we discuss an argument that Culicover and Jackendoff (2001)


presented against the MTC, based on another instantiation of the contrast
between control and raising: control from within nominals is allowed in English,
but raising into nominals is not, as illustrated in (51).
(51) a.
b.

Johns attempt to leave


Johns appearance to leave

By now, the reader can already anticipate the refrain that accompanies this
line of objection: If control involves A-movement, why doesnt it pattern with
raising? But Culicover and Jackendoffs criticism purports to go beyond the
specific analysis of (51), as such contrasts are taken to favor a semantics-based
analysis. According to them (pp. 501502), these contrasts raise no particular
problem for theories of control based on argument structure or conceptual structure. In these theories an implicit argument is precisely a semantic/functional
argument that has no NP corresponding to it in phrase structure.
It is worth noticing the different empirical predictions this semantics-based
approach and the MTC make with respect to crosslinguistic variation. Under the
plausible assumption that the argument structure and the conceptual structure
associated with attempt and appearance are kept constant across languages,
contrasts such as the one in (51) should be universal under the semanticsbased approach. Thus, if it turns out that there are languages where raising
into nominals coexists with control from within nominals, the semantics-based
approach will find itself in a very uncomfortable position, as it is incompatible
with such variation. The MTC, on the other hand, is not committed to the
universality of contrasts such as (51). From the perspective of the MTC, the
two constructions in (51) must be derived by A-movement of the embedded
subject motivated by -reasons in (51a) and -agreement/case reasons in (51b).
However, it should not be surprising if the syntactic configurations involved in
control nominals and raising nominals vary across languages, yielding contrasts

142

Empirical challenges and solutions

such as (51) in some languages but not in others. The ungrammaticality of (51b),
for instance, indicates that its syntactic configuration in English must be such
that it prevents movement of the embedded subject, but from this one cannot
conclude that every language will display the same syntactic configuration in
this domain. The question then is not whether the MTC is compatible with
crosslinguistic variation with respect to contrasts such as (51) (it is!), but
whether it can account for it.
Below we discuss two different cases that bear on the issue of crosslinguistic
variation: finite control into indicative noun-complement clauses in Brazilian
Portuguese and raising into nominals in Hebrew. After showing that these
structures can be adequately handled by the MTC but are problematic for the
semantics-based approach outlined by Culicover and Jackendoff, we will then
suggest an analysis for the English contrast in (51).
5.3.1

Finite control into noun-complement clauses


in Brazilian Portuguese
Consider the contrast in (52) in Brazilian Portuguese, where the embedded null
subject is licensed when its clause is embedded under afirmaca o statement,
but not under probabilidade probability.
(52)

Brazilian Portuguese (Nunes 2009b):


A afirmaca o d[o Joao]i de [que i fez o trabalho] e falsa
The affirmation of-the Joao of that
did the job
is false
Joaos statement that he did the job is false

a.

b.

A probabilidade d[o Joao]i de [que i tenha


feito o
The probability
of-the Joao of that
has.SUBJ done the
trabalho] e alta
job
is high

Joaos probability that he did the job is high

From the perspective of the MTC, the contrast in (52) follows straightforwardly. Given that nominals in Brazilian Portuguese only assign inherent case,
movement makes it possible for the embedded subject to receive inherent case
from afirmaca o in (52a), but not in (52b) as probabilidade does not have
an additional -role to assign. Notice the contrast in (52) alone is not enough
to make a case against a semantic approach. After all, the contrast in (52)
is replicated in (53) below, where the embedded subject is not null. Under a
semantics-based approach, the differences between the argument or conceptual
structures of afirmaca o and probabilidade should suffice to account for both
(52) and (53).

5.3 Nominals and control


(53)

Brazilian Portuguese (Nunes in press):


A afirmaca o do
Joao de [que a Maria fez o trabalho] e falsa
The affirmation of-the Joao of that the Maria did the job
is false
Joaos claim that Maria did the job was false

a.

b.

143

A probabilidade do
Joao de [que a Maria tenha
feito o
The probability
of-the Joao of that the Maria has.SUBJ done the

trabalho] e alta
job
is high

Joaos probability that Maria did the job is high

However, there are several aspects that show that the derivation of (52a),
for instance, crucially hinges on independent syntactic properties of Brazilian
Portuguese. Recall from section 4.4 that referential null subjects in (colloquial)
Brazilian Portuguese behave like A-traces rather than null pronominals and this
was attributed to its finite Ts being able to host an incomplete -set (see Ferreira
2000, 2004, 2009 and Nunes 2008a). In this regard, it is worth pointing out
that the null subject of (52a) displays the same behavior as the other instances
of referential null subjects in Brazilian Portuguese. For instance, if there is no
antecedent for a null subject inside a noun complement clause, the sentence
becomes unacceptable, as shown in (54).9
(54)
a.

b.

Brazilian Portuguese (Nunes 2009b):


A hipotese de [que vai ser eleito] e de rir
The hypothesis of that
goes be elected is of laugh
The hypothesis that hes going to be elected is laughable
A afirmaca o de [que fez o trabalho] e falsa
The affirmation of that
did the job
is false
The statement that he did the job is false

Second, as Nunes (2009b) observes, there is an interesting correlation in


Brazilian Portuguese between the presence of a dummy preposition preceding
the noun-complement clause and the licensing of the embedded null subject. In
general, noun-complement clauses may be optionally preceded by the dummy
preposition de, as shown in (55) below. However, an intriguing contrast arises
when the noun-complement clause involves a null subject: if the null subject
is an expletive, de remains optional (cf. [56]); on the other hand, if it is
referential, de becomes obligatory (cf. [57]).10
9 See Nunes (2009b) for further evidence that referential null subjects within noun-complement
clauses in Brazilian Portuguese also behave like A-traces.
10 In (55) and (56), the alternatives with the preposition are generally associated with formal style
and written language. However, there is no stylistic difference when a referential null subject
is involved (cf. [57]), for the absence of the preposition yields gibberish (see Nunes 2009b for
further discussion).

144

Empirical challenges and solutions

(55)
a.

b.

(56)
a.

Brazilian Portuguese (Nunes 2009b):


A hipotese (de) [que a Terra e chata] nao foi esquecida
The hypothesis of that the Earth is flat
not was forgotten
The hypothesis that the Earth is flat was not forgotten
Ele comentou a afirmaca o do
Joao (de) [que a Ana
He commented the affirmation of-the Joao of that the Ana
era inocente]
was innocent
He commented on Joaos statement that Ana was innocent
Brazilian Portuguese (Nunes 2009b):
A hipotese do
Joao (de) [que expl nao existe
The hypothesis of-the Joao of that
not exists
movimento-wh nessa lngua] parece estar errada
wh-movement in-this language seems be wrong
Joaos hypothesis that there doesnt exist wh-movement in
this language seems to be wrong

b.

(57)
a.

b.

A afirmaca o (de) [que expl nunca chove aqui e exagerada]


The affirmation of that
never rains here is exaggerated
The claim that it never rains here is an exaggeration
Brazilian Portuguese (Nunes 2009b):
A hipotese d[o Joao]i ( de) [que i vai ser eleito] e de rir
The hypothesis of-the Joao of
that
goes be elected is of laugh
Joaos hypothesis that hes going to be elected is laughable
A afirmaca o d[o Joao]i ( de) [que i fez o trabalho e falsa]
The affirmation of-the Joao of
that
did the job
is false
Joaos statement that he did the job is false

Assuming that (57) is also a case of finite control (therefore, A-movement


under the MTC), one wonders why the referential null subjects/A-traces require
the presence of the preposition. Building on Stowell (1981), Nunes (2009b)
uses contrasts such as (58) below to argue that, in Brazilian Portuguese, the
presence or absence of de in these constructions respectively signals whether
we are dealing with a true complement structure or an appositive of sorts. More
specifically, Nunes takes de in these constructions in BP to be the realization
of the inherent case assigned by the subcategorizing noun to the embedded
clause. If de encodes a noun-complement configuration in virtue of realizing
inherent case, its presence in (58) yields unacceptable results as these sentences
involve a predication configuration.
(58) a.

A hipotese e ( de) que o Joao tenha feito isso


The hypothesis is of
that the Joao has done this
The hypothesis is that Joao did this

5.3 Nominals and control


b.

145

A alegaca o e ( de) que a Maria viaja muito


The allegation is of
that the Maria travels much
The allegation is that Maria travels too much

With this overall picture in mind, the derivation of the version of (57b) with
the preposition involves the steps sketched in (59) (with English words).
(59) a.

Applications of merge and move:


CP = [that Joao T[N] did this]
N = affirmation

b.

Merger between N and CP + inherent-case assignment:


[affirmation [that Joao T[N] did this]inherent case ]

c.

Movement of the embedded subject + -role assignment:


[Joaoinherent case affirmation [that Joao T[N] did this]inherent case ]

d.

Movement of the head noun:11


[affirmation [Joaoinherent case affirmation [that Joao T[N] did this]inherent case ]]

e.

Deletion of copies in the phonological component:


[affirmation [Joaoinherent case affirmation [that Joao T[N] did this]inherent case ]]

f.

Realization of inherent case:


[affirmation [de Joao] [de that did this]]

Like in the other instances of finite control in Brazilian Portuguese, the embedded T is associated with an incomplete -set in (59a) (see Ferreira 2000 and
Nunes 2008a) and is unable to check the case of the embedded subject, which
remains active for purposes of A-relations. After the noun and the CP undergo
set-merge (in the sense of Chomsky 2000), the CP is assigned inherent case in
virtue of the -role it receives from the noun (cf. [59b]). Next, the embedded
subject moves, receives the external -role associated with the subcategorizing
noun and is also marked with inherent case (cf. [59c]). Finally, both inherent
cases are realized as de in the morphological component (cf. [59f]).
By contrast, the version of (57b) without de has no convergent derivation
at its disposal. Given that the absence of de signals that the embedded CP
is an adjunct rather than a complement, the noun and CP must then undergo
pair-merge (in the sense of Chomsky 2000). However, if the CP becomes an
adjunct, the embedded subject cannot move out of it as it would induce a CED
11 The linear order of (57b) indicates that, after o Joao moves to the relevant -position associated
with afirmaca o, the latter moves to a higher position. The nature of such positions is orthogonal
to the current discussion.

146

Empirical challenges and solutions

violation. Thus, the only relevant possibility to be considered is the one in which
the embedded subject undergoes sideward movement before CP becomes an
adjunct (see sections 4.5.1.2 and 4.5.1.3), as illustrated in (60) (with English
words).
(60) a.

Applications of merge and move:


CP = [that Joao T[N] did this]
N = affirmation

b.

Sideward movement (copy +merge)+ -role assignment:


CP = [that Joao T[N] did this]
NP = [Joaoinherent case affirmation]

c.

Adjunction of CP to NP:12
[NP [NP Joaoinherent case affirmation] [CP that Joao T[N] did this]]

d.

Movement of the head noun (see footnote 11):


[affirmation [NP [NP Joaoinherent case t] [CP that Joao T[N] did this]]]

Nunes (2009b) argues that, although the derivational steps in (60) are licit,
the final output cannot be linearized. Notice that the copies of Joao in (60d)
are not in a chain configuration as they do not stand in a c-command relation.
Assuming that deletion of copies can only operate with chains, chain reduction
(see Nunes 2004) cannot be employed in (60d). Failure to delete one of the
copies of Joao in (60d) in turn causes linearization problems as the system gets
contradictory instructions: Joao should precede and be preceded by that, as
well as precede itself (see Nunes 1999, 2004 for discussion). Note that when
de is present instead, i.e., when we have a true noun-complement structure as
in (59d), the upper copy of Joao c-commands and forms a chain with the lower
copy, allowing chain reduction to apply in the phonological component, delete
the lower copy, and circumvent potential linearization problems (cf. [59e]).
Going back to the comparison between the MTC and approaches based
on argument or conceptual structure, the MTC is able to account for all the
data concerning referential null subjects within noun-complement clauses in
Brazilian Portuguese. Under the assumption that such subjects are A-traces, we
account for why they require an antecedent and why the clauses containing them
must be true complements (preceded by de) and not adjuncts (lacking de).
By contrast, the empirical coverage of the semantics-based alternative is limited
to (52). Short of ad hoc provisos, there seems to be no coherent way to explain
the behavior of referential null subjects within noun-complement clauses in
Brazilian Portuguese and their apparent requirement of a dummy preposition,
12 It is immaterial for the purposes of our discussion if CP adjoins to a projection higher than NP.

5.3 Nominals and control

147

based solely on the argument or conceptual structure of the relevant noun. In


sum, when all pertinent data are taken into consideration, it is fair to say that
the semantic account of the contrast in (52) turns out to be spurious.
5.3.2
Raising into nominals in Hebrew
The problem posed by Hebrew to semantics-based approaches to control is
even stronger than the one presented by finite control into noun-complement
clauses discussed above. As convincingly argued by Sichel (2007), along with
standard control from within nominals, Hebrew also allows constructions that
involve raising into nominals, as illustrated in (61).
(61)

Hebrew (Sichel 2007):


ha-nisayon Sel rina [le-hagia ba-zman]
the-attempt of Rina to-arrive on-time
Rinas attempt to arrive on time

a.

b.

ha-sikuyim Sel rina [le-hagia ba-zman]


the-chances of Rina to-arrive on-time
Rinas chances to arrive on time

Evidence that (61b) does involve raising is provided by the pairs in (62)(64)
below. The a-sentences of (62)(64) show that the control noun corresponding to attempt imposes selectional restrictions on the DP associated with it,
therefore being incompatible with inanimate elements, expletives, and idiom
chunks respectively. In turn, the b-sentences show that the opposite holds of the
noun corresponding to chances, which imposes no such restrictions. Therefore, Sichel concludes, the b-sentences involve a raising noun and the element
case-marked by it has raised from the embedded clause.13
(62)
a.

b.

(63)
a.
b.

Hebrew (Sichel 2007):


[ha-nisayon Sel ha-teoria lihiyot nexonot] hirgiz
otanu
the-attempt of the-theory to-be correct annoyed us
[ha-sikuyim Sel ha-teoria lihiyot nexona]
kluSim le-maday
the-chances of the-theory to-be correct.FEM.SG slim
quite
The chances of the theory being correct are pretty slim

Hebrew (Sichel 2007):


[ha-nisayon Se ze likrot
[Se-bibi yibaxer]]
hiftia
otanu
the-attempt of it to-happen that-Bibi will-be-elected surprised us
[ha-sikuyim Se ze likrot
[Se-bibi yibaxer]]
tovim
the-chances of it to-happen that-Bibi will-be-elected good
The chances of it happening that Bibi will be elected are good

13 See Sichel (2007) for further evidence and discussion.

148

Empirical challenges and solutions

(64)
a.
b.

Hebrew (Sichel 2007):


[ha-nisayon Sel ha-kerax le-hiSaver be-macav
ka-ze] hu
tipSi
the-attempt of the-ice to-break in-situations like-this is
silly
[ha-sikuyim Sel ha-kerax le-hiSaver be-macav
ka-ze] kluSim
the-chances of the-ice to-break in-situations like-this slim
The chances of the ice breaking in this kind of situation are slim
(idiomatic reading)

The fact that raising nominals are attested in Hebrew provides strong evidence against an account of the impossibility of such nominals in English in
terms of argument or conceptual structure. It is reasonable to suppose that the
argument and conceptual structures of these nominals are the same in the two
languages; hence, the two of them should not be different with respect to raising. By contrast, the MTC is much better equipped to handle these cases as it
relies on the different syntactic configurations that may underlie raising nominal constructions in Hebrew and English. Leaving English to the next section,
let us consider under what conditions raising nominal constructions should be
allowed in Hebrew from the perspective of the MTC.
Although both structures in (61), for instance, involve movement of the DP
case-marked by the dummy preposition, the motivation is different in each
case. In (61a), the movement is triggered by -related reasons, namely, to
allow the external -role associated with attempt to be assigned. Hence, the
incompatibility with elements that cannot bear this -role such as inanimate
elements (cf. [62a]), expletives (cf. [63a]), or idiom chunks (cf. [64a]). As for the
raising structure in (61b), the relevant A-movement involved must be triggered
by -agreement/case considerations. If so, there can be no intervening element
bearing -features. In particular, there should be no CP projection intervening
between the raising nominal and the embedded subject, as C hosts -features
(see section 5.2.1). Evidence that this conjecture is correct is provided by
Sichels (2007) discussion of negative concord. In Hebrew, negative DPs must
be licensed by clause-mate negation, as shown in (65) below. Importantly, in
nominal constructions a negative embedded subject must be licensed by the
matrix and not by the embedded verb, as illustrated in (66). As Sichel points
out, the licensing of the embedded subject of (66a) is similar to what we see in
the ECM constructions in (67), which under standard assumptions should not
involve a CP layer.
(65)

Hebrew (Sichel 2007):


af takmid ( lo) niceax
no student NEG won
No student won

5.3 Nominals and control


(66)

Hebrew (Sichel 2007):


lo
heemanti
[ba-sikuyim/netiya Sel af talmid le-hitkonen]
NEG believed-I-in the-chances/tendency of no student to-prepare
I didnt believe in the chances/tendency of any student preparing

a.

b.

149

(67)

heemanti
[ba-sikuyim/netiya Sel af talmid lo
le-hitkonen]
believed-I-in the-chances/tendency of no student NEG to-prepare
I didnt believe in the chances/tendency of any student preparing
Hebrew (Sichel 2007):
lo
zaxarti
[af talmid mitkonen]
NEG remembered no student preparing
I didnt remember any student preparing

The existence of raising into nominals is therefore not surprising from the perspective of the MTC. All depends on the specific syntactic structures involved.
In this sense, the contrast between control and raising in the nominal domain
may shed more light on the structure of nominal expressions than the nature of
control.
5.3.3

The contrast between raising nominals and control


nominals in English
Now we have seen that raising into nominals should not be excluded as a matter
of principle, let us return to the contrast in (51), repeated here in (68).
(68) a.
b.

Johns attempt to leave


Johns appearance to leave

The first thing to point out is that it is not exactly correct that English never
allows raising into nominals. As Culicover and Jackendoff (2001, footnote 10)
acknowledge, mentioning the data in (69) below, there do exist examples that
appear to be parallels of raising in nominals. As in the case of Hebrew, the
existence of data such as (69) is quite problematic for approaches to control
based on argument or conceptual structure.
(69)

Johns likelihood/probability of winning

A comparison between (68a) and (70) below, on the one hand, and (69), on
the other, is very suggestive.
(70)

Johns likelihood/probability to win

The acceptable pattern is possible when the dummy preposition of is present,


which looks very similar to what happens with hyper-raising out of inflected
infinitivals in Brazilian Portuguese (see section 5.2.3). Following a suggestion

150

Empirical challenges and solutions

by Lisa Cheng (personal communication), Nunes (2010), proposes that of in


constructions like (69) is in fact the realization of the inherent case assigned
to the embedded non-finite clause. The contrast between (69) and (70) now
follows the interaction between inherent case and -intervention discussed
earlier with respect to hyper-raising in Brazilian Portuguese. The derivation of
(70) involves movement of the embedded subject for -agreement/case reasons
skipping C, which yields a minimality violation, as sketched in (71).
(71)

[DP s [NP likelihood/probability [CP C [TP John to win]]]]

As for (69), the subcategorizing nominal assigns inherent case to its complement, which is morphologically realized as of. Once CP receives inherent
case, it is no longer active for A-purposes and its head is not computed for
purposes of A-minimality. Movement of the embedded subject then proceeds
without problems, as illustrated in (72).14
(72)

[DP s [NP likelihood/probability [CP Cinherent case [TP John winning]]]]

OK

Although admittedly sketchy, this proposal accounts for the fact that only
some nominals admit raising (inherent case is to some extent a lexical idiosyncrasy), and explains why a dummy preposition should be resorted to. However,
it does not explain why raising into the nominal domain in English is much
more restricted than what we saw in Hebrew. In particular, English does not
allow raising of expletives or idiom chunks in this context, as illustrated in (73)
(cf. [63b] and [64b]).
(73) a.
b.

its likelihood of raining/annoying me that Jane is late


the shits likelihood of hitting the fan in these situations
(Sichel 2007)

14 Alternatively, we can extend the analysis of finite control into nominals in Brazilian Portuguese
(see section 5.3.1) to English. In other words, the presence of the dummy preposition of
signals a complement from which movement is allowed; conversely, the absence of the dummy
preposition may indicate an adjunct to NP and then there is no way to derive the structure licitly
via sideward movement (cf. [60]). Suggestive evidence for such an approach is the contrast in (i),
which shows that, in predicative environments, of-gerunds behave like standard complements
(cf. [iia]), as opposed to to-infinitivals (cf. [ib]/[iib]).
(i) a.
b.
(ii) a.
b.

The

likelihood/probability was of winning


The desire/attempt was to win

The

driver is of my car
The book is about Chomsky

5.3 Nominals and control

151

Following Nunes (2010), we suggest that the difference between English and
Hebrew has to do with the span of the relevant A-movement in each language,
as sketched in (74).
(74) a.

b.

English:
[DP s [NP N [CP Cinherent case [TP DP . . . ]]]]

Hebrew:
[NP N [ . . . [TP DP . . . ]]]

In English, the moved subject crosses not only C, but also the subcategorizing
N (cf. [74a]). In Hebrew, on the other hand, the moved subject seems to occupy
a position lower than the subcategorizing noun (cf. [74b]), if we are to judge
by the surface order of (61)(64). That being so, N in English should induce a
minimality effect for non-referential elements similar to what we find in the Adomain, where referential and non-referential wh-phrases sharply contrast with
respect to movement across a weak island (see e.g., Rizzi 1990), as illustrated
in (75).
(75) a.
b.

What headway do you wonder [how PRO to make t on this project]


?What project do you wonder [how PRO to make headway on t]
(Rizzi 1990)

In the case of raising, it is plausible to think that the raising nominal induces
(weak) intervention effects for -related movements, blocking non-referential
expressions from raising, because it is ultimately a -feature bearer. As for
why referential expressions are not subject to such intervention, it is worth
noting that, within NP, the subcategorizing noun functions as a predicate and
not as an argument. Perhaps this is what makes it transparent for the movement
of true arguments. If so, contrasts such as the ones illustrated in (76) below
follow from the fact that the functional head associated with -ing is nominal in
(76a), but verbal in (76b) (see e.g., Chomsky 1970 and Reuland 1983). That
is, movement of the idiom chunk is blocked by the nominal -ing in (76a), but
allowed by the verbal -ing in (76b).
(76) a.
b.

The cats being out of the bag was a big problem for the government
(idiomatic reading: )
The cat being out of the bag was a big problem for the government
(idiomatic reading: OK)

As for expletives, the contrasts in (77) below can receive the same minimality account if we assume with Rosenbaum (1967) and Hornstein and Witkos

152

Empirical challenges and solutions

(2003), among others, that it and there are generated together with their
associates (the CP complement and someone respectively) before moving
to the subject position of the gerund.15
(77) a.
b.

It/ its seeming that we would get a raise motivated everyone to work harder
There/ theres being someone here was surprising

Whether this general account will prove fruitful will depend, it seems to us,
more on the ultimate structure of nominals per se than on the MTC. But it is
worth emphasizing that this fine-grained range of (im)possible instances of raising within a single language raises the same kind of problem as crosslinguistic
variation regarding raising into nominals poses to semantic-based approaches
of the type envisioned by Culicover and Jackendoff (2001). By contrast, these
fine-grained distinctions are very congenial to the MTC as their source arguably
stems from minimality issues governing movement for -agreement/case purposes. Furthermore, the contrast with constructions involving control nominals,
which are much less diversified, is unsurprising, for the relevant movement
involved in control, although being of the A-type, is of a different nature
-related rather than -related.
5.4

Obligatory control and morphological case

Let us now examine the case and agreement patterns found in control contexts
in Icelandic and Basque. We focus on these two languages as their overt morphology presents interesting case/agreement correlations that have been taken
to shed light on the nature of control. It has also been claimed that these correlations constitute knock-out evidence against the MTC (see e.g., Landau 2003,
2006, 2007; San Martin 2004; Sigursson 2008; and Bobaljik and Landau
2009). Let us then see whether the MTC is up to the challenge.
5.4.1

Quirky case and the contrast between raising and


control in Icelandic
Landau (2003, 2006, 2007), Sigursson (2008), and Bobaljik and Landau
(2009) have claimed that the fact that raising and control constructions differ
with respect to the realization of quirky case constitutes a fatal problem for
the MTC. As illustrated in (78) and (79) below, the matrix subject of raising
constructions surfaces with the quirky dative case specified by the embedded
15 Rosenbaum (1967) made this proposal only for it. We believe there are good reasons to extend
the insight to there (see Hornstein and Witkos 2003).

5.4 Obligatory control and morphological case

153

verb (cf. [78a]/[79a]), as opposed to the matrix subject of control predicates,


whose case realization is determined solely by the properties of the matrix
domain (cf. [78b]/[79b]). If both raising and control involve A-movement,
so the argument goes, case realization should be the same in both types of
constructions.
(78)
a.

b.

(79)
a.

b.

Icelandic:
Monnunum/ Mennirnir virist baum
hafa veri hjalpa
seems both.DAT have been helped.DFLT
Men-the.DAT/ NOM
The men seem to have both been helped
(Sigursson 2008)
Hann/ Honum vonast til a vera bjarga
af fjallinu
He.NOM/ DAT hopes for to be
rescued.DFLT of the-mountain
He hopes to be rescued from the mountain
(Andrews 1990, reproduced in Bobaljik and Landau 2009)
Icelandic:
Strakunum
er
tali
(hafa
The-boys.MASC.PL. DAT. is.SG believed.DFLT to-have
veri) bjarga
been rescued.DFLT
The boys are believed to have been rescued
(Andrews 1990, reproduced in Bobaljik and Landau 2009)
Strakarnir
vonast til a vera hjalpa/ hjalpair/ hjalpuum
The-boys.NOM hope for to be
helped.DFLT/ PL.NOM/ PL.DAT
The boys hope to be helped
(Sigursson 1991, reproduced in Bobaljik and Landau 2009)

Following Boeckx, Hornstein, and Nunes (in press), we show below that,
when the relevant properties involved in quirky-case assignment and agreement
are sorted out, the MTC in fact makes the right cut with respect to contrasts
such as (78) and (79). As is well known, Icelandic has a morphologically rich
case-agreement system in which structural and quirky case are associated with
different agreement paradigms (for comprehensive overviews, see Sigursson
1991 and Thrainsson 2008). As is the case in other languages, quirky case
in Icelandic displays properties of both inherent and structural case (see e.g.,
Zaenen, Maling, and Thrainsson 1985). Like inherent case and unlike structural
case, it is associated with a -role and is lexically determined. On the other
hand, it is unlike inherent case in that it does not render its recipient frozen
for purposes of A-movement; it rather behaves like structural case in requiring
an agreement relation with a -complete head in order to be deactivated for
A-purposes. Thus, elements marked with quirky case can undergo standard
A-movement in passives and ECM constructions, for instance, as respectively

154

Empirical challenges and solutions

illustrated in (80) below. In other words, elements bearing quirky case are
indeed quirky mainly from a morphological point of view, as they do not lose
their morphological case under passivization (cf. [80a]) or ECM (cf. [80b]) and
systematically fail to trigger agreement on the finite verb (cf. [80a]).16
(80)
a.

b.

Icelandic (Andrews 1990, reproduced in Bobaljik and Landau 2009):


Strakunum
var bjarga
The-boys.DAT.MASC.PL was rescued.DFLT
The boys were rescued
tel
Eg
strakunum
(hafa veri) bjarga
I believe the-boys.DAT.MASC.PL to-have been rescued.DFLT
I believe the boys to have been rescued

Given (80), it indeed appears to be surprising from the perspective of the


MTC that quirky case is preserved under raising, but not under control. But,
before jumping to hasty conclusions, we should first examine in more detail how
quirky-case assignment and checking obtain in a simple sentence. Assuming
the structure of passives outlined in section 5.2.2, let us consider the derivation
of the quirky passive sentence in (80a), for instance, as sketched in (81) (with
English words).17
(81) a.
b.
c.
d.
e.

f.

V = rescued
DP = [the boys][case:?]
[VP rescued [the boys][case:DAT] ]
[vP IMP [v -en[case:?; :?] [VP rescued [the boys][case:DAT] ]]]
OK
[vP [the boys][case:DAT] ] [v IMP [v -en[Case:dflt; :d
:df lt] [VP rescued t]]]

[TP T[:?] be [vP [the boys][case:DAT] ] [v IMP [v -en[Case:dflt; :d


:df lt]
OK
[VP rescued t]]]]
[TP [the boys][Case:DAT] [T T[
[:d
:df lt] be [vP t [v IMP [v -en[Case:dflt; :d
:df lt]
[VP rescued t]]]]]]

Given the derivational step in (81a), the verb merges with DP and assigns
quirky case to it, as shown in (81b). Such an assignment only means that the
case feature of the DP has been valued as dative. Crucially, the quirky case
marked DP is still active for purposes of A-relations and its case feature must
16 In addition, if a given clause involves a quirky subject and a nominative object, agreement on
the finite T is determined by the nominative object but it cannot be first or second person (see
e.g., Sigursson 1996).
17 For ease of exposition, in this section we will assume that T has already inherited the -features
of C (see Chomsky 2008).

5.4 Obligatory control and morphological case

155

be checked against a -complete probe in order to be deactivated. The next


step of the derivation in (81c) introduces the passive -en, which has case and
an incomplete set of -features (gender and number). Given that both -en
and the object DP are active, they can enter into an agreement relation and
the object can move to [Spec, -en], as shown in (81d) (see footnote 5). As
mentioned above, when a given probe enters into an agreeing relation with an
element marked with quirky case, the features of the probe get default values
if there is no nominative goal around (see footnote 16); hence, the features
of -en in (81d) get valued as nominative, neuter, and singular.18 Notice that,
as opposed to the features of -en, which are deleted (for LF purposes) once
valued, as represented by the outlined characters, the case feature of the moved
object remains active as it has not entered into an agreement relation with a
-complete probe yet. This only happens when the finite T enters the derivation
in (81e). Agreement between the -complete T and the quirky DP then sets
the value of the -features of T as default (third-person singular) and all the
uninterpretable features including the case feature of the subject get deleted
(for LF purposes), yielding the structure in (81f), which surfaces as (79a).
Obviously, the remarks above constitute no innovative treatment of quirky
case. They just spell out in Agree parlance the old intuition that quirky case
has both inherent and structural characteristics (see e.g., Freidin and Sprouse
1991 and Chomsky 2000). It is, however, sufficient for us to tackle the contrast
between raising and control illustrated in (78) and (79). In fact, the logic to be
exploited here is no different from the one we used to account for why idiom
interpretation is preserved under raising, but not under control, as illustrated in
(82) (see section 3.2)
(82) a.
b.

The cat seems to be out of the bag


The cat tried to be out of the bag

(idiomatic interpretation: OK)


(idiomatic interpretation: )

Arguably, the DP [the cat] in (82a) acquires the idiosyncratic meaning of


the idiom when it merges with [out of the bag], as represented in (83) below.
That being so, movement of [the cat] to the matrix subject position in (82a) and
(82b) has different implications. In the case of (82a), movement is triggered
for -agreement reasons, as sketched in (84), which leaves the idiosyncratic
meaning specification of [the cat] unaltered. By contrast, movement in (82b)
is -related and, in this case, an ungrammatical result obtains. Either [the cat]
cannot move because it is not a potential -role bearer once it has become
18 This is also the pattern found with nominal and adjectival predicates (cf. [88]/[89] below). On
the pattern displayed by secondary predicates and floating quantifiers, see section 5.4.2 below.

156

Empirical challenges and solutions

an idiom chunk, as represented in (85a), or, if it moves, assignment of the


external -role to it obliterates its idiomatic specification and it can no longer
be interpreted as an idiom chunk, as shown in (85b).
(83) a.
b.

DP = [the cat]
PP = [out of the bag]
[[the cat]idiom chunk [out of the bag]]

(84)

[TP [the cat]idiom chunk T seems [TP t to be [t out of the bag]]]

OK

(85) a.

[vP v [tried [CP C [TP [the cat]idiom chunk to be [t out of the bag]]]]]

b.

[vP [the cat]idiom-chunk v [tried [CP C [TP t to be [t out of the bag]]]]]

Similar reasoning accounts for the raising-control contrasts in (78) and (79).
The derivation of the raising construction in (79a), for instance, proceeds along
the lines of (86) (with English words).
(86) a.

Assignment of quirky case:


[rescued [the boys][case:DAT] ]

b.

Merger of a -incomplete probe:


[vP IMP [v -en[case:?; :?] [VP rescued [the boys][case:DAT] ]]]

c.

Agreement between the passive participle and the quirky DP + movement:


[vP [the boys][case:DAT] ] [v IMP [v -en[Case:dflt; :d
:df lt] [VP rescued t]]]

d.

Applications of merge and move:


[vP IMP [v -en[case:?; :?] [VP believed [TP [the boys][case:DAT] to have been

[vP t . . . ]]]]]

e.

Agreement between the passive participle and the quirky DP + movement:


[vP [the boys][case:DAT] ] [v IMP [v -en[Case:dflt; :d
:df lt] [VP believed [TP t . . . ]]]]]

f.

Merger of a -complete probe:


[TP T[:?] be [vP [the boys][case:DAT] ] [v IMP [v -en[Case:dflt; :d
:df lt]
[VP believed . . . ]]]]

g.

Agreement between T and the quirky DP + movement:


[TP [the boys][Case:DAT] [T T[
[:d
:df lt] be [vP t [v IMP

[v -en[Case:dflt; :d
:df lt] . . . ]]]]]

h.

[the-boys.DAT.MASC.PL is.DFLT believed.DFLT to-have been


rescued.DFLT]

5.4 Obligatory control and morphological case

157

After having its case feature valued in (86a), the quirky DP enters into an
agreement with the two passive morphemes, setting their features to default
values (cf. [86c] and [86e]), but remains active for purposes of A-movement as
passive morphemes are not associated with a complete -set (they do not have
the feature person). The quirky DP will only become inactive after agreeing
with the finite T (a -complete probe), as shown in (86g). Like in the derivation
of a simple passive (cf. [81]), the embedded object triggers default agreement
on its way to the matrix [Spec, TP] and surfaces with the quirky case it received
in the most embedded clause (cf. [86h]).
By contrast, the derivation of the control structure in (79b), for instance,
proceeds as sketched in (87) (with English words).
(87) a.

Assignment of quirky case:


[helped [the boys][case:DAT] ]

b.

Merger of a -incomplete probe:


[vP IMP [v -en[case:?; :?] [VP helped [the boys][case:DAT] ]]]

c.

Agreement between the passive participle and the quirky DP + movement:


[vP [the boys][case:DAT] [v IMP [v -en[Case:dflt; :d
:df lt] [VP helped t]]]]

d.

Applications of merge and move:


[vP v [VP hope [CP C [TP [the boys][Case:DAT] to be [vP t . . . ]]]]]

e.

Movement and -assignment:


[vP [the boys][Case:?] [v v [VP hope [CP C [TP t to be [vP t . . . ]]]]]]

f.

Merger of a -complete probe:


[TP T[:?] [vP [the boys][Case:?] [v v [VP hope [CP C [TP t to be [vP t . . . ]]]]]]]

g.

Agreement between T and DP, case valuation, and movement:


[TP [the boys][Case:NOM] [T T[
[:3PL]
:3PL] [vP t [v v [VP hope [CP C [TP t to be

[vP t . . . ]]]]]]]]

h.

[the-boys.NOM hope.3PL to be helped.DFLT]

The derivation of the embedded clause proceeds like the derivation of raising
constructions until we hit the derivational steps in (87de). As opposed to the
derivational steps in (86c) or (86e), which involve movement driven by agreement, movement of the quirky DP in (87e) is triggered by the -properties
of the matrix light verb and this makes a very big difference. Recall that a
given quirky case is intrinsically tied to a specific -role. Thus, it is natural
to assume that assigning an additional -role to an element bearing quirky

158

Empirical challenges and solutions

case may obliterate the quirky-case value previously specified. In other words,
obliteration of the quirky-case value seen in (87e) is similar to what we saw in
(85b), where -assignment to an idiom chunk deletes the idiom specification.
Once the quirky-case value in (87e) is eliminated, the derivation then proceeds
in a standard fashion, with the DP having its case valued through agreement
with a -complete probe (cf. [87g]). Given that in (87) the probe is a finite T,
the moved DP surfaces as nominative (cf. [87h]).
Notice that the controller surfaces with structural case in (87h) because the role it received in the matrix [Spec, vP] was not tied to any specific morphology.
This is not the only possibility, though. If the -role of the matrix predicate is
associated with quirky case, the controller will then surface with the last quirky
case it received and will trigger default agreement of the finite T. This is how
we propose control structures with quirky case assigners in both the matrix and
the embedded clause are to be derived. The derivation of (88), for example,
proceeds as sketched in (89) (with English words).19
(88)

Icelandic (Sigursson 2008):


Hana
langar ekki til a vera kalt
Her.ACC longs not for to be cold.DFLT
She doesnt want to be (feeling) cold

(89) a.

Assignment of quirky case:


[AP cold pron.3SG.FEM[case:DAT] ]

b.

Merger of a -incomplete probe:


[IP Infl[:?] [AP cold pron.3SG.FEM[case:DAT] ]]
OK

c.

Agreement between Infl and the quirky DP + movement:


[IP pron.3SG.FEM[case:DAT] [I Infl[
[:d
:df lt] [AP cold t]]]

d.

Applications of merge and move:


[vP v [VP want [CP C [TP pron.3SG.FEM[case:DAT] to be [IP t . . . ]]]]]

e.

Movement and -assignment:


[vP pron.3SG.FEM[case:ACC] [v v [VP want [CP C [TP t to be [IP t . . . ]]]]]]

19 Example (i) shows that the embedded predicate of (88) (under the intended meaning) assigns
quirky dative to its subject.
(i)

Icelandic (Sigursson 2008):


Mer
er
kalt
Me.DAT is.3SG cold.DFLT
I am (feeling) cold

5.4 Obligatory control and morphological case


f.

Merger of a -complete probe:


[TP T[:?] [vP pron.3SG.FEM[Case:ACC] [v v [VP want [CP C [TP t to be
[IP t . . . ]]]]]]]

g.

Agreement between T and DP + movement:


[TP pron.3SG.FEM[Case:ACC] [T T[
[:d
:df lt] [vP t [v v [VP want [CP C

159

[TP t to be . . . ]]]]]]]
h.

[her.ACC wants.DFLT not to be cold.DFLT]

After the pronoun merges with the adjective in (89a), it receives quirky case and,
after the Infl probe associated with adjectival predicates is merged (cf. [89b]),
it enters into an agreement relation with the pronoun and its -features receive
default values (cf. [89c]). The interesting step for the current discussion is the
one after (89d) is assembled. The matrix light verb needs to assign its external
-role and the embedded subject is still active for the computation as it has
not entered into an agreement relation with a -complete probe. As we saw
earlier, assignment of a -role to an element marked with quirky case obliterates
the quirky specification previously established. Interestingly, the matrix light
verb is also a quirky-case assigner.20 Thus, the previous quirky-case value is
eliminated and the one associated with the -assignment of the matrix predicate
(accusative) is specified, as seen in (89e). Further checking with finite T finally
deactivates the case feature of the moved pronoun and values the -features of
T as default, as seen in (89g), which surfaces as (89h) (cf. [88]).
We would like to stress that assignment of a -role to an idiom chunk and
assignment of a -role to an element marked with quirky case are similar but not
identical. In particular, deletion of the idiom specification in (85b) is arguably
triggered by interpretability at the CI interface. By contrast, in instances of role assignment to an element previously marked with quirky case (cf. [87e]),
the issue is a morphological one: does the morphology of the grammar in
question allow preservation of quirky-case specification when a new -role is
assigned? It is not inconceivable that different grammars may have opposite
answers and even different answers depending on specific quirky values or
-roles. The latter scenario can be illustrated by dialects of Spanish that allow
embedded quirky morphology on the controller of some obligatory control
verbs, as discussed by Boskovic (1994) based on work by Gonzalez (1988,
1990). In (90) below, for instance, the preposition preceding the controller
is determined by the embedded rather than the matrix verb. That different
20 Nothing will substantially change if it turns out that the quirky case is assigned by the matrix
main verb instead of the light verb.

160

Empirical challenges and solutions

possibilities may be accommodated by morphology undoubtedly underlies part


of the variation found in speakers judgments regarding quirky case.
(90)

Spanish (Gonzalez 1988, 1990):


A Juan le
quiere gustar Marta
To Juan CL.DAT wants like Marta
Juan wants to like Marta

In sum, by making use of fairly standard assumptions regarding quirky case,


the MTC can handle the contrast between raising and control perfectly well. In
fact, the difference between raising and control with respect to the preservation
of quirky-case morphology lies exactly where the MTC would lead us to look.
A-movement in raising is related to -agreement and is therefore oblivious
to -relations that the relevant DP may have participated in. By contrast, Amovement in control is motivated by -considerations and, therefore, it may in
principle be sensitive to -related issues.
5.4.2
Apparent case-marked PROs
5.4.2.1 Icelandic
The second type of challenge posed to the MTC coming from Icelandic
involves control configurations in which embedded floating quantifiers and
secondary predicates display case-agreement morphology that at face value
seems to be independent from the controller in the matrix clause (see Landau
2003; Sigursson 2008; and Bobaljik and Landau 2009). In the sentences in
(91) below, for instance, the matrix subject bears (structural) nominative case
(cf. [91a]) and (quirky) accusative case (cf. [91b]), but the secondary predicate
in the embedded clause shows up with dative case, which is the quirky case
assigned by the embedded verb.
(91)
a.

b.

Icelandic (Boeckx and Hornstein 2006a):


Jon
vonast til a leiast ekki einum
Jon.NOM hopes to to be-bored not alone.DAT
Jon hopes not to be bored alone
Bjarna
langai ekki til a leiast einum
Bjarni.ACC wanted not to to be-bored alone.DAT
Bjarni wanted not to be bored alone

The reason why (91) seems intriguing from the perspective of the MTC is that
floating quantifiers and secondary predicates agree in case and -features with
the nominal expression they are associated with, as illustrated in (92) below. If
the secondary predicates in (91) mismatch the case of the matrix subject but
exhibit the quirky agreement licensed by the embedded verb, this at face value
appears to show that the controller of the agreement cannot be a trace/copy of

5.4 Obligatory control and morphological case

161

the matrix subject. Rather, the agreement on the secondary predicate should be
determined by a case-marked PRO (see Sigursson 1991, 2008).
(92)
a.

Icelandic (Sigursson 2008):


Braeurnir
voru ekki bair
kosnir
Brothers-the.NOM.MASC.PL were not both.NOM.MASC.PL elected
atjornina
to board-the
The brothers were not both elected to the board

b.

Braerunum
var baum
boi
Brothers-the.DAT.MASC.PL was both. DAT.MASC.PL invited.DFLT
a fundinn
to meeting-the
The brothers were both invited to the meeting

Again, appearances are misleading and a close look at the relevant derivations
promptly reveals the source of the case dissimilarity between the matrix subject
and the embedded secondary predicate. The derivation in (91a), for instance,
is as sketched in (93) (with English words):
(93) a.

Merger between DP and the secondary predicate:


[J.[case:?] alone[case:?; :?] ]

b.

Concord:
[J.[case:?] alone[case:?;

c.

Merger of the verb + assignment of quirky case:


[VP be-bored [J.[case:DAT] alone[case:?;
] ]]

d.

Concord:
[VP be-bored [J.[case:DAT] alone[Case:DAT; :SG.MASC]
:SG.MASC] ]]

e.

Applications of merge and move:


[vP v [VP hope [CP C [TP J.[case:DAT] not to be-bored t

]]

alone[Case:DAT; :SG.MASC]
:SG.MASC] ]]]]
f.

Movement and -assignment:


[vP J.[case:?] [v v [VP hope [CP t not to be-bored t alone[Case:DAT; :SG.MASC]
:SG.MASC] ]]]]

g.

Merger of a -complete probe:


[TP T[:?] [vP J.[case:?] [v v [VP hope [CP t not to be-bored t
alone[Case:DAT; :SG.MASC]
:SG.MASC] ]]]]]

h.

Agreement between T and DP + movement:


[TP J.[Case:NOM] [T T[
[:3SG]
:3SG] [vP t hope not to be-bored t

alone[Case:DAT; :SG.MASC]
:SG.MASC] ]]]

162

Empirical challenges and solutions

Assume that concord between floating quantifiers/secondary predicates and


nominal expressions takes place under mutual c-command, valuing (and deleting for LF purposes) the uninterpretable features of the floating quantifiers/
secondary predicates. That being so, merger between the secondary predicate
and the DP in (93a) allows the -features of the secondary predicate to be
valued (cf. [93b]). Once a quirky-case assigner is introduced in (93c), it values
the case feature of Jon as dative (cf. [93c]), which in turn allows the secondary
predicate to have its case feature valued via concord (cf. [93d]). Movement of
Jon to the embedded [Spec, TP] in (93e) strands the secondary predicate. The
crucial step is the next one. As discussed in section 5.4.1, assignment of a role to an element marked with quirky case obliterates the previous quirky-case
value. This is what happens in (93f) after Jon moves to receive the external
-role of the matrix light verb. Finally, the moved subject agrees with a finite
T and surfaces as nominative (cf. [93h]).21
Notice that the derivation of (91b) is essentially identical to the derivation
of (91a). The only relevant difference is that the matrix light verb is a quirkycase assigner (see footnote 20) and, when it assigns its external -role to the
moved subject, the previous quirky-case value is overwritten by the new one,
as sketched in (94) (with English words).
(94) a.
b.
c.
d.

Merger between DP and the secondary predicate + concord:


[B.[case:?] alone[case:?;
]]
Assignment of quirky case:
[VP be-bored [B.[case:DAT] alone[case:?;

] ]]

Concord:
[VP be-bored [B.[case:DAT] alone[Case:DAT; :SG.MASC]
:SG.MASC] ]]

Movement and -assignment + quirky valuation:


[vP B.[case:ACC] [vP v [VP wanted [CP t not to be-bored t

alone[Case:DAT; :SG.MASC]
:SG.MASC] ]]]]

e.

Agreement with a -complete T + movement:


[TP B.[Case:ACC] [T T[
[:d
:df lt] [vP t hope not to be-bored t

alone[Case:DAT; :SG.MASC]
:SG.MASC] ]]]

Let us pause for a moment to reconsider the valuation of the uninterpretable


features of the secondary predicate in the derivations outlined in (93) and
(94). Upon merger, the secondary predicate get its -features valued by the
21 Just as we saw in section 5.4.1, the surface form of a given DP depends on the last caseassigning/valuing head it interacts with, which provides evidence for the view that case must
be assigned/valued rather than checked.

5.4 Obligatory control and morphological case

163

corresponding features of the nominal expression it associates with, but not


its case feature. This has a straightforward explanation. The -features of
the relevant nominal expression are interpretable and hence valued at every
derivational step. Its case feature, on the other hand, is uninterpretable and is
unvalued upon merger. Only after the case feature of the nominal expression is
valued can it value the case feature of the secondary predicate. In the derivations
discussed, this happens after the embedded predicate assigns quirky case to the
nominal expression (cf. [93cd]) and [94bc]). Bearing this in mind, let us now
consider instances where there is no quirky-case assignment in the embedded
clause, as exemplified in (95).
(95) a.

Icelandic (Sigursson 2008):


Braerunum
lkai illa a vera ekki
Brothers-the.DAT.MASC.PL liked ill to be not
bair
kosnir
both.NOM.MASC.PL elected
The brothers disliked not being both elected

b.

veisluna
Olaf
langai a fara einn
Olaf.ACC longed to go alone.NOM to party-the
Olaf wished to go alone to the party

In absence of quirky-case assignment in the embedded clauses of (95), the


floating quantifier/secondary predicate surfaces as nominative, regardless of the
case specification of the controller. Interestingly, case valuation of the controller
takes place after it leaves the floating quantifier/secondary predicate stranded.
Consider the simplified derivation of (95b) given in (96) below, for instance.
(96) a.
b.

c.

d.

Merger between DP and the floating quantifier + concord:


[O.[case:?] alone[case:?;
]]
Applications of merge and move:
[vP v [VP longed [CP C [TP O.[case:?] to go [t alone[case:?;

] ]]]]]

Movement and -assignment + quirky valuation:


[vP O.[case:ACC] [v v [VP longed [CP C [TP t to go [t alone[case:?;

] ]]]]]]

Agreement with a -complete T + movement:


[TP O.[Case:ACC] [T T[
[:d
:df lt] [vP t longed t to go [t alone[case:?;

] ]]]]

In (96) Olaf gets its case value after it moves to the matrix [Spec, vP], leaving
the stranded secondary predicate with its case feature unvalued. We propose
that, in such circumstances, the case of the secondary predicate or floating

164

Empirical challenges and solutions

quantifier is assigned a default value in the morphological component (see


Boeckx and Hornstein 2006a; Boeckx, Hornstein, and Nunes in press). As we
have already seen when discussing default specification for passive morphemes
(see section 5.4.1), the default value for case in Icelandic is nominative;22 hence
the nominative specification on the floating quantifier and secondary predicate
of (95) irrespective of the case value of the controller.
It is worth noting that, contrary to Sigursson (2008) and what Bobaljk and
Landau (2009) claim, the MTC has a very simple explanation for why control
infinitives in Icelandic cannot license an overt subject, as illustrated in (97).
(97)
a.

b.

c.

Icelandic:
Jon
vonast til [hann/Eirkur a vera rainn]
Jon.NOM hopes
he/Eric.NOM to be
hired.NOM.MASC.SG
John hopes for him(self)/Eric to be hired
(Jonsson 1996, reproduced in Bobaljik and Landau 2009)
ba Maru

Asta)
Eg
[a ( hun/
fara ein
anda]
I asked Maria.ACC to she/Asta.NOM go alone.NOM.FEM.SG there
I asked Maria (for her/Asta) to go there alone
(Thrainsson 1979, adapted in Bobaljik and Landau 2009)

Eg
vonast til [a ( mer/ Joni) vera hjalpa]
I.NOM hope for to me/Jon.DAT be
helped
I hoped (for myself/Jon) to be helped
(Zaenen, Maling, and Thrainsson 1985, adapted in Bobaljik and Landau
2009)

Since there is no local -complete probe in the embedded clause of (97a) and
(97b), the embedded subject does not have its case valued and the derivation
crashes. By contrast, in (97c) the embedded subject is valued with quirky case.
However, in order to be licensed, the element bearing quirky case needs to agree
with a -complete probe and there is no such element within the embedded
clause; hence, the derivation of (97c) also crashes.
The reasoning above is quite simple: no case licensing, no convergence.
Sentences such as (97) are in fact quite problematic for approaches that take
the morphological facts reviewed above to indicate that control infinitives in
Icelandic license a PRO marked with structural or quirky case. If this is so, why
are the sentences in (97) out? When all is weighed, it seems that approaches
that take control infinitives to license a PRO marked with regular case are
very similar to the null-case approach. At the end of the day, PRO is specified
22 This is in consonance with Sigurssons (2008: 419) observation that Icelandic is unusual in
overtly marking many of its nominatives in morphology. Even so, it is reasonable to analyze
nominative as the unmarked case in Icelandic, as in many other languages.

5.4 Obligatory control and morphological case

165

as being licensed by a peculiar kind of case which can license no other nominal
expression.
For the sake of completeness, let us consider a final set of data. Sigursson
(2008) points out that, in addition to the central facts discussed above, with
nominative specification for embedded agreeing elements, case matching with
the controller is marginally possible, although it is sensitive to a variety of as
yet poorly understood factors (the type of predicate, the value of the quirky
case, idiolectal variation, etc.). He notes, for example, that it is easier for controllers bearing structural accusative case to transmit their cases to a downstairs
predicate than it is for controllers bearing quirky case, as respectively exemplified with structural and quirky accusative in (98a) and (98b) below, where the
numbers in parentheses indicate how many out of 15 informants in his survey
judged the relevant agreement pattern as OK.23 He also notes that, although
transmitting quirky dative is marginally possible (cf. [98c]), transmitting quirky
genitive is not an option (cf. [98d]). Importantly, case transmission never applies
if the embedded predicate has a quirky-case property, as illustrated in (98e),
where the embedded predicate assigns quirky dative.
(98)

Icelandic (Sigursson 2008):

veisluna (12/15)
Hun
ba Olaf
a fara bara einan
She.NOM asked Olaf.ACC to go just alone.ACC to party-the
She asked Olaf to just go alone to the party

b. Olaf
langai a vera fyrstan
(2/15)
Olaf.ACC longed to be the-first-one.ACC
Olaf wanted to be the first one

c. Olafi
fannst gaman
a vera fyrstum
(3/15)
Olaf.DAT found pleasurable to be the-first-one.DAT
Olaf was pleased to be the first one

d. Vi kolluum til Olafs


a vera rolegs
(0/15)
We shouted on Olaf.GEN to be calm.GEN
We shouted to Olaf to be calm
a.

e.

Vi
baum hana
a vera bona
We.NOM asked her.ACC to be
invited.ACC.FEM.SG
eina
alone.ACC.FEM.SG
We asked her to get invited alone

The sharp contrast between (98a) and (98e) is exactly what our approach
predicts. Recall that, when quirky case assignment is available in the embedded
23 See Sigursson (2008) for relevant figures regarding judgments classified as ? or .

166

Empirical challenges and solutions

clause, as is the case in (98e), the nominal expression bearing quirky case is
able to enter into agreement/concord relations and value case and -features
of the agreeing elements around (cf. [93d] and [94c]). Hence, case transmission is blocked in sentences such as (98e) because the relevant elements have
already had their features valued. By contrast, the corresponding elements in
the embedded clauses of (98ad) do not have their features valued in the syntactic component. It is then plausible to assume that this leaves the door open for
competing morphological strategies (default nominative assignment or longdistance case copying). If case transmission is indeed a morphological process,
it would not be surprising that it would be subject to a variety of morphological
factors, including sensitivity to the type of case (structural cf. [98a]) vs.
quirky cf. [98b]) and to the specific case value, as the contrast between dative
and genitive in (98c) and (98d) illustrates.24
In sum, aside from the murky status of case transmission (a status it has
under any approach to control), the dissimilarity between the features of the
controller and an embedded floating quantifier or secondary predicate is not an
insurmountable problem for the MTC, contrary to what is frequently claimed.
It in fact follows very naturally as a by-product of the dynamics of the derivation. Once quirky cases are tied to -roles, assignment of a new -role to an
element marked with quirky case obliterates the quirky-case value previously
specified. Thus, once a quirky-case-marked element moves to a -position, its
case realization will be determined from that point on in the derivation, with
no connection with the quirky agreement it had previously triggered.
5.4.2.2 Basque
Let us finally turn to control in Basque, which San Martin (2004) has claimed
runs against the expectations of MTC in that it also appears to involve a casemarked PRO (see also Landau 2006). In a nutshell, San Martins argument
24 See Boeckx, Hornstein, and Nunes (in press) for further discussion.
Case transmission also appears to be sensitive to the presence of an intervening DP, as it
is blocked under promise, as illustrated in (i). Landau (2007) also reports a great deal of
variability in situations of case transmission in Russian. Interestingly, Landau notes that the
presence of an intervening argument also blocks case transmission.
(i)

Icelandic (Ussery 2008, reporting data from Andrews 1982):


eir telja
hana
hafa lofa
honum a vera
They believe her.ACC have promised him.DAT to be
go/ goa
good.NOM.FEM.SG/ACC.FEM.SG
They believe her to have promised him to be good

5.4 Obligatory control and morphological case

167

is the following. As she observes, the case patterns that arise in Basque are
not related to the nature of the predicate involved, but rather to the number
of argument DPs. Thus, if a given clause has a single argument DP, it is
marked with absolutive case (morphologically, a zero morpheme); if it has two
argument DPs, one is marked with absolutive case and the other with ergative
case; finally, if it has three argument DPs, one is marked with absolutive case,
another with ergative case, and the remaining element with dative case.25 This
is respectively illustrated in (99).
(99) a.

Jon
etxera
joan da
Jon.ABS house.ALL go AUX.3ABS
John has gone home

b.

Jonek
ogia
erosi du
Jon.ERG bread.DET.ABS buy AUX.3ABS.3ERG
John has bought bread

c.

Nik
Mariari
oparia
eman diot
I.ERG Mary.DAT present.DET.ABS give AUX.3ABS.3DAT.1ERG
I have given the present to Mary

With this in mind, consider the control structure in (100) below. The embedded clause of (100) displays the case pattern associated with three arguments,
given that one argument is realized as dative. This in turn indicates that ergative
case must have been assigned in the embedded clause. Assuming that the absolutive case on the controller in the matrix clause disqualifies it as a potential
candidate to be the element bearing ergative case, San Martin concludes that
the embedded clause of (100) must involve a PRO marked with ergative case,
thereby accounting for the presence of dative case.
(100)

Joni
[i Mariari
ogia
ematen]
Jon.ABS
Mary.DAT bread.DET.ABS give.NOMIN.INN
saiatu da
try
AUX.3ABS
John has tried to give bread to Mary

San Martins argument is indeed very ingenious. However, we believe that it


just shows how control structures such as (100) can be handled in a PRO-based
approach, not that the MTC cannot account for such constructions. Basque
has the canonical morphological profile of an ergative language in the sense
25 This is reminiscent of the morphological case-assignment mechanisms proposed in Yip, Maling,
and Jackendoff (1987), Marantz (1991), and Harley (1995), among others.

168

Empirical challenges and solutions

that transitive objects and intransitive subjects are equally marked absolutive.
But morphology aside, Basque arguments behave syntactically on a par with
what is found in nominativeaccusative languages. For example, in the domain
of control, it is subjects that are invariably controlled, as illustrated in (101)
below with subjects of transitive and unaccusative predicates respectively. And
as far as its inherent case system goes (which, following Laka [2006], we take
to include ergative and dative), Basque is much closer to Icelandic than, say,
German, as it allows inherently case-marked elements to function as regular
subjects (and even enter into -agreement with a full -probe, as illustrated by
the agreement on the auxiliary in [99][101]).
(101) a. Nii
[i oparia
erosten]
saiatu naiz
I.ABS
present.DET.ABS buy.NOMIN.INN try
AUX.1ABS
I have tried to buy the present
b. Nii
[i etxera
joaten]
saiatu naiz
I.ABS
house.ALL go.NOMIN.INN try
AUX.1ABS
I have tried to go home

Thus, the analysis we proposed in section 5.4.2.1 to account for apparent case-marked PROs in Icelandic extends straightforwardly to Basque. The
derivation of (100), for instance, proceeds along the lines of (102) (with English
words).
(102) a. [John[case:ERG] give bread[case:ABS] Mary[case:DAT] ]
b. [vP v [tried [John[case:ERG] give bread[case:ABS] Mary[case:DAT] ]]]
c. [vP John[case:?] [v v [tried [t give bread[case:ABS] Mary[case:DAT] ]]]]

d. [TP John[case:ABS] has[3ABS] [vP t [v v [tried [t give bread[case:ABS]

Mary[case:DAT] ]]]]]

In (102a), John is generated in the embedded clause; hence, the presence of


three arguments activates the three case specifications and the case of John is
specified as ergative. However, after John moves to the matrix [Spec, vP], it
receives another -role and its previous case specification is obliterated. Further
case computations then specify John as absolutive as it is the sole argument
DP in the matrix clause.
Again, we have witnessed case mismatch between the controller and the
controllee (its trace/copy) which arises in the course of the derivation. More
importantly, the mismatch arises exactly where predicted by the MTC: when
an inherently case-marked element receives an additional -role.

5.5 The MDP, control shift, and the logic of minimality


5.5

169

The minimal-distance principle, control shift,


and the logic of minimality

Rosenbaum (1970) proposed the minimal-distance principle to account for


why, typically, the antecedent of an obligatorily controlled PRO is the most
proximate nominal expression, as illustrated in (103) (see section 2.3).
(103) a. John said that Mary tried [PRO to wash herself/ himself]
b. John persuaded Mary [PRO to wash herself/ himself]

The MTC captures the empirical virtues of the minimal-distance principle


via minimality (see section 3.4.1): if obligatorily controlled PRO is a residue of
A-movement, then moving John from the embedded-subject position in (103)
to the matrix-subject position traverses the c-commanding intervening nominal
Mary, as shown in (104) below. As this violates (relativized) minimality,
John cannot be an antecedent of PRO. Conversely, Mary can be the controller
in (103), as there is no intervening DP (cf. [105]).
(104) a. [ said that Mary tried [John to . . . ]]

b. [ persuaded+v [Mary tpersuaded [John to . . . ]]]

(105) a. [John said that [Mary tried [t to . . . ]]]


OK
b. [John persuaded+v [Mary tpersuaded [t to . . . ]]]

OK

We believe it to be a virtue of the MTC that it so elegantly derives Rosenbaums minimal-distance principle. However, many (though equally impressed
with the intimate connection between the MTC and the minimal-distance
principle) have concluded that the MTC is fatally tainted empirically precisely because of this tight relation. There are well-known counter-examples
to Rosenbaums minimal-distance principle that (some claim) demonstrate that
the minimal-distance principle is incorrect. As the MTC assumes the minimaldistance principle in the guise of minimality, the conclusion reached by some
is that it too must be false. The argument form is impeccable. Whether the facts
are fatal is less clear, as we will argue.
The putative problems for the minimal-distance principle come in two varieties (see e.g., Culicover and Jackendoff 2001 and Landau 2003). The first
involves control into the complement of verbs like promise, as illustrated in
(106) below, and the second involves cases of control shift, as illustrated in

170

Empirical challenges and solutions

(107b). In both (106) and (107b) John appears to control PRO, despite the
fact that Mary surfaces between PRO and John. As this seems to involve a
minimality violation under the MTC, control by the matrix subject should be
unavailable.
(106)

John promised Mary [PRO to wash himself]

(107) a. John asked Mary [PRO to shave herself/ himself]


b. John asked Mary [PRO to be allowed to shave himself/ herself]

There has been an animated discussion regarding how compelling these facts
are. For example, the promise-examples are not uniformly deemed acceptable.26
Importantly, as emphasized by Boeckx and Hornstein (2004), Rosenbaum
(1967) had already observed (citing C. Chomsky 1969) that control cases
like (106) are mastered rather late in the acquisition process, if mastered at all.
It appears that there are speakers for whom these cases are never considered
acceptable.27 As Rosenbaum correctly notes, this is a problem for those who
consider these cases as identical to the standard cases in (103), which appear to
be acquired quite straightforwardly. Why, after all, do the acquisition profiles
of sentences like (106) differ so significantly from those in (103) if they are
unexceptional cases of control?
Curiously, this learnability feature of verbs like promise has received less
attention than the acceptability of (106) (for some speakers). Landau (2003:
480), for example, dismisses the relevance of the acquisition puzzle, claiming
that although cases of type [106] are not as common as those of type [103b],
they are far too systematic to be dismissed as highly marked exceptions.
Boeckx and Hornstein (2004) observe that the reasoning behind this line of
argument is flawed if one accepts that theories of UG aim to provide an answer
to the logical problem of language acquisition (Platos Problem), a standard
assumption at least since Aspects. The interesting acquisition profiles that verbs
like promise have constitute prima facie evidence that all is not quite standard
with these cases from a grammatical point of view and that whatever evidence
they provide against the minimal-distance principle requires some further massaging. We take it that a complete account of these cases has three parts: (i) that
the cases in (103) are the central examples of complement control (as Rosenbaum originally proposed); (ii) that some speakers find (106) acceptable; and
(iii) that some speakers either never come to admit cases like (106) or take a
26 Stockwell, Schachter, and Partee (1973: 536), for example, describe this type of sentence as
only marginally grammatical.
27 See Courtenay (1998) for discussion.

5.5 The MDP, control shift, and the logic of minimality

171

long time to acquire them. In section 5.5.1 below, we outline an approach that
covers all three data points.
The putative counter-example in (107b) is equally problematic. There is
currently no good account for why control shift obtains. In fact, though seldom
noted, control shift is incompatible with standard analyses of control in which
the controller choice is catalogued as a (diacritical) fact about the selection
properties of the embedding verb. Whatever goes on in control shift cases, it
transcends the reaches of selection. For instance, to allow the verb ask to select
its object as the controller in (107a) but its subject as the controller in (107b)
requires allowing it to see the verb of the embedded clause: if it is something
like allowed then the subject controls, otherwise the object (see Farkas 1988).
However, if selection is a local head-to-head relation (the standard assumption),
the embedded verb is just too remote from ask to be visible and so cannot be
exploited in this way to determine the correct controller. Some may take this
to indicate that controller selection is not a lexical property of the embedding
predicate but a compositional fact about the embedding predicate coupled with
the composed semantic contribution of the embedded sentence.28 However, we
still await a (non-ad hoc) explanation of how these different readings arise.29
Again, it seems to us that it is not clear what the control reversal facts in
(107) tell us about the adequacy of the MTC. What is clearer is that the reversal
only applies in certain stylized situations in which the object of ask authorizes
the embedded event in some way. An adequate theory of these cases should tell
us why control shift occurs in just this narrow range of cases. We attempt to do
so in section 5.5.2 below.
5.5.1
Control with promise-type verbs
Let us review exactly how the MTC derives the MDP as a special case. For
concreteness, consider a persuade-structure like (108).
(108)

[DP1 [persuade [DP2 [PRO 1/2 to go home]]]]

The movement from the position occupied by PRO (understood as an Atrace) to the position occupied by DP1 is prohibited if we assume that DP2
triggers a minimality violation. This holds if DP2 intervenes between DP1
28 This seems to be the position of Culicover and Jackendoff (2001) and van Craenenbroeck,
Rooryck, and van den Wyngaerd (2005), for instance.
29 There is a considerable literature discussing various factors involved in control-shift interpretations that build on Farkas (1988). However, these works do not explain why these readings
arise or why these factors are relevant. Rather, they basically reiterate the observed facts and
factors by noting that the isolated factors are dispositive and that they contribute in some way
to the observed interpretations.

172

Empirical challenges and solutions

and PRO. DP2 intervenes if it c-commands PRO, DP1 c-commands PRO, and
DP1 c-commands DP2 . If any of these clauses fails to obtain, then DP2 is not
an intervener and movement of DP1 from the PRO position does not violate
minimality.
Given this logic, the object of control cases involving promise like (106),
repeated below in (109a), should not count as an intervener if it fails to ccommand the embedded subject, as sketched in (109b), where Mary is the
complement of a null head. The question is whether it makes sense to suppose
that there is an extra layer of structure in promise-cases preventing the object
from counting as an intervener.
(109) a. John promised Mary [PRO to wash himself]
b. [John promised [XP X Mary] [t to wash himself]]

OK

There is indeed a considerable amount of evidence that points to the conclusion that Mary in (109) is not the complement of promise, but the complement of a null preposition. First, promise is often classed with other subjectcontrol verbs whose nominal complement is preceded by the preposition to,
as illustrated in (110) below.30
(110)

[John vowed/committed [PP to Mary] [t to wash himself]]

OK

Vow in particular is of interest as it is semantically very close to promise


and so it is not unreasonable to suppose that the thematic role of the nominal
argument of the two verbs is identical. Given (a non-relativized version of)
Bakers (1988, 1997) uniformity of theta assignment hypothesis (UTAH), the
apparent direct object of promise in (109a) should then be mapped into the
complement of a preposition, thus obviating any minimality problems (cf.
[109b]). This conclusion is bolstered by the oft-noted observation that the
nominalization of promise requires to rather than of before the nominal
complement, despite the fact that of is what normally precedes structural
objects within nominalizations:
(111) a. Johns promise to/ of Mary to leave
b. My promising to/ of Mary to leave

In fact, the preposition to may surface in other syntactic frames associated


with promise, as shown in (112) below, and this leads us to the second set of
30 See e.g., Landau (1999, 2003).

5.5 The MDP, control shift, and the logic of minimality

173

facts that indicate that Mary in (109a) is not the theme/patient complement
of promise. The two syntactic frames of promise seen in (109a) and (112)
resemble what we find with standard double-object constructions in English
such as (113), that is, a fronted thematic goal surfaces without its preposition.
(112)

I didnt promise this to Mary

(113) a. John gave a present to Mary


b. John gave Mary a present

Importantly, the nominal object of promise in constructions like (109a) patterns like the goal of double-object constructions and not like the object of
control constructions involving verbs like persuade. Thus, as opposed to the
object of standard object-control verbs, the object of promise and the goal of
a double-object construction disallows wh-movement (cf. [114]),31 heavy NP
shift (cf. [115]), and secondary predicates (cf. [116]).
(114) a. Whoi did you persuade ti to leave the party?
b. Whoi did you promise ti to leave the party?
c. Whoi did you give ti a book?
(115) a. You persuaded ti to leave [the party every man that you met]i
b. You promised ti to leave [the party every man that you met]i
c. You gave ti a book [every man that you met]i
(116) a. John persuaded Mary1 to go to the party undressed1
b. John promised Mary1 to go to the party undressed1
c. John gave Mary1 a book undressed1

These secondary-predication structures are particularly interesting for it is


well known that PPs cannot be subjects of such predicates, as shown in (117)
below. Baker (1997) argues that the goal of double-object constructions such
as (116c) patterns like indirect objects because it is actually a prepositional
complement, despite the lack of an overt preposition. This is exactly what we
are saying regarding the object of promise in constructions like (109a). In
31 Notice that sentences like (ia) below with an overt preposition are only weakly unacceptable,
again paralleling double-object constructions (cf. [ib]). Interestingly, when the preposition is
overt, wh-movement improves quite a bit, as shown in (ii).
(i) a. ?John promised to Mary to leave the party early
b. ?John gave to Mary a book
(ii)

(?)To whom did John promise to leave the party early?

174

Empirical challenges and solutions

effect, the object of promise behaves just like the object of vow (cf. [118]),
the only difference being the overt preposition in the latter case.32
(117)

John gave a book to Mary1 undressed1

(118)

John vowed to Mary1 to leave the party early undressed1

In sum, if the object of promise in sentences like (119a) below is actually


tucked inside a PP phrase (see footnote 32), as sketched in (119b), movement
of embedded subject over the matrix object is a licit operation. The matrix
object does not c-command the embedded subject and so does not intervene
for purposes of minimality. Thus, generating the subject-control reading is
expected to be possible.33
(119) a. John promised Mary to donate money to the library fund
b. [ promised [P Mary] [John to donate money to the library fund]]

OK

Moreover, this null-preposition hypothesis supplies the ingredients for an


answer as to why some speakers never seem to allow sentences like (119a) or
32 Strictly speaking, the present analysis does not require the postulation of null prepositions
in English. It suffices for what we need here that promise, just like give in double-object
constructions, renders an overt preposition, e.g., to, null at some point of the derivation
(perhaps via incorporation, as Baker [1997] proposes).
33 If movement of John in (119b) is allowed because the matrix object does not c-command it,
there arises the question of why the matrix object induces principle-C effects with respect to
material inside the embedded clause, as illustrated in (ia) below, with a null preposition, and
(ib), with an overt preposition. Note that the problem posed by (i) is not different from what
we find in (ii), where raising over an experiencer PP is allowed in English, despite the fact that
the nominal within PP induces a principle-C effect with respect to material inside the clausal
complement.
(i) a. John promised heri to visit Maryi
b. John vowed to heri to visit Maryi
(ii) a. [Johni seems to her [ti to be nice]]
b. [It seems to heri [that Maryi is nice]]
Kitahara (1997) has proposed that, at the point when raising takes place in (iia), the pronoun
is within PP and does not induce intervention effects; later on in the derivation, the pronoun
undergoes covert movement to a position from where it c-commands the clausal complement,
thereby inducing principle-C effects (see also Boeckx 1999). As the reader can see, if something
along these lines is correct, it applies to (i) in a straightforward fashion. Alternatively, we can
exploit the account of (ii) suggested in section 5.2.3, according to which to in (ii) is a marker
of inherent case and inherently case-marked elements do not induce A-intervention. Again, this
suggestion carries over to (i) straightforwardly.
For purposes of presentation, we will keep using representations like (119b) in the discussion
that follows and, accordingly, assume Kitaharas (1997) and Boeckxs (1999) proposal regarding
principle-C effects. However, it should be noted that, as far as we can see, both approaches
make the same empirical predictions regarding the material discussed here.

5.5 The MDP, control shift, and the logic of minimality

175

that they are late in getting to them. It should be no surprise to discover that
null prepositions may be difficult to pin down. Clearly, the data used above to
motivate its presence is too exotic to be considered part of the primary linguistic
data. Thus, the main evidence for the grammaticality of sentences like (119a)
are actual instances of such sentences used in the appropriate context. It might
not be too great a stretch to assume that some speakers never receive the relevant
input in sufficient amounts.
There is a second confound here as well. If one adopts a non-relativized
version of UTAH (see Baker 1997), then arguments will be projected to
grammatical-function positions on the basis of their thematic proto-role consequences (see Dowty 1991). DP arguments that are internal to VP and that have
sufficient theme/patient properties will be assigned to object positions. Those
that do not have enough of such properties but have goal/path/location properties will be treated as oblique and mapped to the object of some preposition.34
The question that then arises is whether Mary in cases like (119a) has
more oblique- or more theme/patient-like consequences. Given the meaning
of promise, it would not be surprising if a child concluded that the promisee
was affected (in some suitable sense) by the proffered promise. Were this to
happen, the DP associated with the promisee would be treated as a direct object
and minimality would block movement across it. As Baker (1997) emphasizes,
if one takes a coarse-grained view of -roles and adopts a Dowty-style protorole analysis to underwrite the projection of proto-roles to syntactic positions,
then there will be cases where the relevant proto-role may be obscure (and/or
ambiguous). One way to alleviate the obscurity is by syntactic means, e.g.,
putting in an overt preposition will signal that a DP is not a direct object of the
verb.35 However, if such overt evidence is absent, then ambiguity will be rife
and more subtle calculations of semantic consequences will be needed to settle
matters. It should not be surprising to find that these methods occasionally do
not apply uniformly across speakers and that what some speakers catalogue as
theme/patient others consider oblique.
What is true for promise also holds for threaten, another putative subjectcontrol predicate. It appears that some speakers accept sentences like (120).36
(120)

John threatened Mary to kiss Sue

34 See Baker (1997) for one reasonable elaboration of these mapping principles.
35 It is worth noting that the authors are acquainted with some speakers that cannot understand
sentences like John promised Mary to leave as involving subject control. For these speakers,
these sentences considerably improve with the subject-control reading if to is inserted before
Mary (John promised to Mary to leave).
36 See Landau (2003).

176

Empirical challenges and solutions

Some, including one of the present authors, find (120) very unacceptable. The
question on a BakerDowty account of -role projection is what one takes the
proto-role of Mary to be in (120). One way of being affected is to have ones
psychological state changed. It seems reasonable to conclude from (120) that
Marys state of mind might be affected by Johns action. If so, Mary will be a
proto-theme/patient in (120) and so be mapped to the syntax as a direct object.
Of course, some may conclude that Mary is merely a recipient of a threat and so
not primarily an affected object and so might map Mary in (120) to an oblique
position, thereby permitting A-movement across it. Do promises alter one? Do
threats? It is subtle questions like these that determine the thematic syntax
of these constructions (on a BakerDowty approach) and that also determine
whether a given DP will act as an intervener in an MTC account. It should not
be surprising that the core cases (persuade, force) are unproblematic, while
other verbs are not clear cut in their semantic consequences. In these latter
cases, we should expect variation and we appear to find it.
To conclude. We noted that an account of subject control sentences involving
verbs like promise needs to explain how they can be generated, why they are
not allowed by all speakers, and how they contrast with control constructions
like persuade. Our proposal above offers a sketch that addresses all three
concerns and is compatible with the MTC. In fact, we could go further. The
MTC requires that post-verbal DPs in sentences like (119a) not intervene in
order for the subject control reading to be generated. The evidence that such
DPs act like objects of prepositions and not like direct objects is just what
one would expect were the MTC correct. Put tendentiously, this is what the
MTC predicts. The same cannot be said for more conventional approaches
which stipulate the antecedents of PRO via ad hoc diacritics that annotate the
argument structure of embedding verbs.37
5.5.2
Control shift
Let us now examine control shift. Consider (121), for instance.
(121) a. John1 asked/begged/petitioned Mary2 [PRO2/ 1 to leave the party early]
b. John1 asked/begged/petitioned Mary [PRO1 to be allowed/permitted to
leave the party early]

The cases in (121a) are typical cases of object control. Note that the indicated
licit indexation observes the minimal-distance principle, the more proximate
object blocking the more remote subject. In (121b), on the other hand, the matrix
37 As in Landau (2000) and Culicover and Jackendoff (2005), for example.

5.5 The MDP, control shift, and the logic of minimality

177

subject is a licit antecedent for PRO and it appears that the control relation is
established over the matrix object, in violation of both the minimal-distance
principle and minimality (if PRO is understood to be a residue of movement).
Control shift can be licensed without an overt allow/permit verb in the
embedded clause, as illustrated in (122).
(122) a. John asked the guard [PRO to smoke one more cigarette]
b. John asked the manager [PRO to pitch in the last game]

These cases are ambiguous with either subject or object being potential controllers. However, when John controls, the only acceptable reading is as
paraphrased in (123), with an overt instance of allow/permit.
(123) a. John asked the guard to be allowed to smoke one more cigarette
b. John asked the manager to be permitted to pitch in the last game

Moreover, the subject-control reading of the sentences in (122) becomes infelicitous if the guard/manager has no authority to grant the request. In effect,
an optimal paraphrase of (122a), for instance, is (124a) below. When the
object cannot be interpreted as the source of permission/authority, the sentence becomes unacceptable, as illustrated in (124b).38
(124) a. John asked the guardi to be allowed by himi to smoke one more cigarette
b. John asked the guard to be allowed by the general to smoke one more
cigarette

Landau (2003: 480) observes that control shift is sensitive to pragmatic


factors like authority relations and that languages differ in how sensitive
they are to such factors. However, it has never been made clear why control
shift is sensitive to such a tight interpretive constraint. Here we would like to
propose that control-shift cases are in fact amenable to essentially the same
kind of analysis proposed in section 5.5.1. What happens in such cases is that
a matrix object may be treated as a thematic object or as a thematic oblique (a
source to be specific). In the latter case, the DP is mapped to the complement
position of a preposition, thereby allowing movement across it without any
38 In addition, Chomsky (1980) has noted that control shift is rather sensitive to the right embedded
content. Thus, (i) contrasts with (123).
(i)

John
1

asked Mary [PRO1 to have/get permission to shave himself]

Why these cases contrast with (123) is unclear. However, one speculation is that the distinction
active vs. passive may matter and that the passive makes the source reading more readily
available on the matrix object.

178

Empirical challenges and solutions

violation of minimality, just as in the case of promise. Let us consider the


details.
The contrast between (121a) and (121b) with respect to the subject-control
reading is in fact unexpected only if the matrix object of each sentence is
associated with the same syntactic configuration. However, one reasonable
possibility is that the thematic function of the matrix object is different in (121a)
and (121b) and, if so, they should be projected into different syntactic positions
under (a non-relativized version of) UTAH (see Baker 1997). Specifically, if
the matrix object in (122), for instance, is a theme/patient then it will be a
complement of ask. If, however, it gets a source interpretation (i.e., it is
understood as the source of the authority/permission to carry out the request
whose content is specified by the embedded clause), then it should syntactically
project as the object of a preposition, as illustrated in (125) below.39 This source
interpretation underlies the implicit understanding of the matrix object as the
agent of the allowing, as seen in (124).
(125)

[John asked [PP P Mary] [PRO to be allowed to leave]]

The structure in (125) should look very familiar. It is what we proposed


for matrix object of subject-control constructions with promise (cf. [119b]).
As in promise-cases, Mary in (125) does not c-command PRO, or does not
c-command it at that point in the derivation where John moves over it, as
shown in (126) (see footnote 33).40
(126)

[ asked [PP P Mary] [John to be allowed to leave]]

OK

In fact, the interaction between control shift and control constructions


involving promise has a very curious result. So far, we have discussed standard cases of control shift, where the control shifts from the object to the
subject. However, promise-cases yield reverse control-shift effects, that is,
cases where the control shifts from the subject to the object. Consider the data
below, for example.
39 Baker (1997: 108) proposes collapsing sources, locations, goals, and paths into one proto-role.
40 As was seen with promise-cases, the nominal inside the PP complement in control-shift structures induces principle-C effects with respect to material inside the clausal complement, as
illustrated in (ia) below, and again this holds regardless of whether the preposition is null or
overt, as shown in (ib). See footnote 32 for two alternative accounts that are compatible with
the MTC.
(i) a.
b.

John
John

asked her1 PRO to be allowed to visit Mary1


asked of/from her1 permission to visit Mary1

5.5 The MDP, control shift, and the logic of minimality

179

(127) a. John promised Mary to leave


b. Mary was promised (by John) to leave
(128)

Mary was promised (by John) to be allowed to leave

Example (127a) is a typical example of subject control with promise, where


the object does not block movement of the embedded subject. In turn, (127b)
shows that the matrix object of (127a) cannot be passivized. Interestingly, if
the embedded clause contains a predicate that makes a control-shift reading
salient, passivization becomes licit, as seen in (128).
Our proposal has a straightforward account for the contrast between (127b)
and (128). In (127b), John or IMP, the empty counterpart of a by-phrase
(see section 5.2.2), is the intended controller of the embedded subject. Given
the MTC, this amounts to saying that John/IMP must be generated in the
embedded clause and move to the Spec of the passive morpheme. In turn, this
entails that the matrix object must be buried in a PP layer in order for minimality
to be observed, as illustrated in (129). But if Mary in (129) is the complement
of a preposition, it is then reasonable to assume that it cannot be passivized (cf.
[127b]). Conversely, if Mary is generated as a standard verbal complement, it
should be able to undergo passivization; however, being a DP complement, it
blocks movement of the embedded subject. Either way, the derivation crashes.
(129)

[ -en [promised [PP P Mary] [IMP/John to leave]]]

OK

In (128), on the other hand, Mary is the controller (and not the source
of authority). In other words, the derivation of (128) parallels the derivation of passives involving object-control verbs such as persuade (cf. [20] in
section 5.2.1): Mary is generated in the embedded clause and moves to the
specifier of promise before landing in the matrix [Spec, TP], as sketched
in (130).
(130) a. [VP Maryi promised [ti to be allowed ti to leave]]

OK
b. [vP Maryi [v [IMP/by John] promised+-en [VP ti tpromised

OK
[ti to be allowed . . . ]]]]
c. [TP Maryi T [vP ti [v [IMP/by John] promised+-en [VP ti tpromised
OK
[ti to be . . . ]]]]]

Note that this account ties together control shift and the interpretive restrictions that characterize it. Authority restrictions translate naturally into a

180

Empirical challenges and solutions

source role for the nominal object of the matrix clause. Source roles being
oblique are syntactically mapped into PP configurations. Given this mapping,
the matrix object does not function as an intervener for another DP that moves
across it, licensing subject control. To put this another way: the MTC (coupled
with UTAH) requires that the matrix nominal object receive an oblique thematic interpretation in order for subject control to be possible in such syntactic
configurations. The fact that this occurs thus constitutes a further argument in
favor of the MTC. In effect, the MTC explains why control-shifted contexts
are semantically restricted to cases where the matrix object is thematically
oblique. In short, if we are correct that in control-shifted clauses the matrix
object is actually an oblique inside a PP, then the purported empirical problem
that control shift posed for the MTC is actually an argument in its favor and an
argument against more standard accounts that decouple control selection from
the minimal-distance principle or minimality.
There is additional independent empirical evidence for the PP structure in
(126). First, there are related forms that overtly show prepositions, as illustrated
in (131).
(131) a. John asked/begged (of/from) Mary permission to leave
b. John asked/begged permission to leave of/from Mary
c. John petitioned from/??of Mary a permit to leave

Here the preposition is overtly manifest and the source reading on Mary is
forced. These must be interpreted with Mary authorizing the leaving, just as
in the control-shifted readings above. Examples (131a) and (131b) seem to
display something analogous to the dative alternation found in double-object
constructions and promise-constructions (see section 5.5.1). Interestingly, the
preposition is required when the source is at the end of the clause but can
be deleted if it is in medial position.41 Given that these verbs already have
structures with oblique source arguments, it is reasonable that such roles can
arise in the control-shifted readings as well, the main difference residing in the
deletion of the preposition in the shifted cases.
Second, the diagnostics operative in double-object constructions and
promise-cases (see section 5.5.1) also extend to these configurations. For example, wh-movement is possible under standard object control (cf. [132a]), but
strained under the control shift (cf. [132b]), which is more on a par with
promise- (cf. [132c]) and double-object constructions (cf. [132d]).
41 The deleted version may be slightly preferred.

5.5 The MDP, control shift, and the logic of minimality


(132) a.
b.
c.
d.

181

I wonder [whoi John asked ti [PROi to leave early]]


??I wonder [whoi Johnk asked ti [PROk to be allowed to leave early]]
??I wonder [whoi Johnk promised ti [PROk to leave early]]
??I wonder [whoi John gave ti a book]

This effect is also evident in those cases where either a theme/patient or a


source reading can be attributed to the matrix nominal object. Example (133a)
below, for instance, is ambiguous. However, when the matrix object undergoes
wh-movement, the strongly preferred reading is one in which who is the
controller. That is, under the subject-control reading, (133b) patterns like the
transparent control-shift construction in (133c).
(133) a. John1 asked/begged [the guard]2 [PRO2/1 to smoke a cigarette]
b. Who2 did John1 ask/beg t2 [PRO2/??1 to smoke a cigarette]
c. ??Who2 did John1 ask/beg t2 [PRO1 to be allowed to smoke a cigarette]

In turn, heavy NP shift is allowed under object control, but unavailable under
control shift, as illustrated in (134).
(134) a. [John1 asked/begged t2 [PRO2/??1 to stop working] [every employee
that he met]2 ]
b. [ John1 asked/begged t2 [PRO1 to be allowed to stop working] [every
employee that he met]2 ]

Finally, secondary predicates modifying the matrix object are disallowed in


the shifted reading, though acceptable in the object-control case, as shown in
(135).
(135) a. John1 asked/begged Mary2 , unsure of herself, [PRO2 to sing at the gala]
b. John1 asked/begged Mary2 , unsure of herself, [PRO1 to be allowed to
sing at the gala]

In sum, the diagnostics used to argue that the matrix object of control constructions with promise and the goal of double-object constructions are actually contained in an underlying PP also extend to the control-shift cases. This
then provides independent support for the structure proposed in (125)/(126).
5.5.3
Summary
Let us recap and conclude. Several have claimed that subject control over
objects in promise- and in control-shifted cases constitutes strong evidence
against the empirical adequacy of Rosenbaums minimal-distance principle
and, pari passu, the MTC, which has the minimal-distance principle as a
consequence. We have noted that the arguments depend on the premise that

182

Empirical challenges and solutions

the matrix object DP in constructions like (136) is a direct complement of the


matrix verb.
(136) a. John1 promised Mary [PRO1 to leave the party early]
b. John1 asked Mary [PRO1 (to be allowed) to smoke a cigarette in
her apartment]

If, however, this DP is actually embedded within a PP, then it would not serve
as an intervener and so minimality would not block movement across it. In
effect, the MTC requires that this apparent direct object actually be analyzed
as an indirect object at that point in the derivation where the movement applies
and this requires that it get an oblique thematic interpretation given UTAH. We
have reviewed evidence pointing to precisely this conclusion and so these cases
shift from being problems for the MTC to being evidence in its favor.
Pace Landau (2003: 481), it is far from clear that a theory that does not
derive the [minimal-distance principle] is, ceteris paribus, better off than one
that does. Our view is well expressed by Elizabeth Bennets reply to Mr. Darcy
at the end of Pride and Prejudice: [our] feelings are quite different, just the
opposite in fact.
5.6

Partial and split control

In section 5.4.2, we discussed cases where controller and controllee differ with
respect to the agreement patterns they trigger and argued that the dissimilarity
arises in the course of the computation, as the moving DP (the controller)
receives a -role that is incompatible with the quirky-case value previously
assigned. In this section we discuss two cases where controller and controllee
seem to be semantically distinct.
The first case involves partial-control constructions like (137) below, where
the embedded predicate requires a semantically plural subject but the controller
is singular and must be interpreted as a member of the set of referents denoted
by the embedded subject. The second case involves constructions where the
controlled subject has split antecedents, as illustrated in (138).
(137)

[[The chair]i decided [PROi+k to meet at 6]]

(138)

[Johni proposed to Maryk [PROi+k to meet each other at 3]]

Although semantically plural, the controllees of these constructions differ with


respect to syntactic number (see Landau 2000). In split control the controllee
is also syntactically plural, but in partial control the syntactic number of the
controllee is determined by the controller. In (137), for instance, the controllee

5.6 Partial and split control

183

is syntactically singular, like its controller. This can be seen by the contrast
between (138) and (139). Given that a plural anaphor must be licensed by a
syntactically plural antecedent, each other can be licensed in the split-control
structure in (138), but not in the partial-control structure in (139).
(139)

[[The chair]i decided [PROi+k to meet each other at 6]]

Examples (137) and (138) clearly contrast with (standard) exhaustive-control


constructions such as the ones in (140), where the controller must be unique and
have the same (semantic and syntactic) number specification as the controllee.
(140) a. [[The chair]i managed [PROi+k to meet at 6]]
b. [Maryi expects Johnk to try [PROi+k to leave]]

As discussed throughout this volume, exhaustive control receives a straightforward analysis under the MTC. If the controllee is a trace/copy of the moved
element, the controller should completely determine the referential properties
of the controllee. Similarly, there can be no split antecedents for the controllee
because two distinct elements cannot move from the exact same position (see
section 3.4.1).
Given this overall picture, partial- and split-control constructions look especially challenging for the version of the MTC explored here. If obligatorily controlled PRO is simply a residue of A-movement (i.e., a copy of the antecedent
interpreted as a bound variable), how can it be interpreted as semantically plural
in (137), for example, or have distinct binders in (138)? It is worth observing
that there is in fact a clear-cut divide between (standard) exhaustive control, on
the one hand, and split and partial control, on the other. The latter is much more
amenable to crosslinguistic variation, lexical idiosyncrasies, and non-uniform
judgments among speakers. So, whatever turns out to be the ultimate analysis
of these constructions, it should treat them as somewhat special when compared
to exhaustive-control constructions.
In the next sections we discuss how partial and split control can be handled
as special cases under the MTC.
5.6.1
Partial control
The fact that controller and controllee need not match in semantic number
in partial-control constructions has been taken as a strong argument for a
PRO-based analysis. Landau (2004), for instance, analyzes the partial-control
construction in (141a) along the lines of (141b), where the feature [+Mer]
characterizes group names.

184

Empirical challenges and solutions

(141) a. The chair hoped to meet at 6/apply together for the grant
b. [[The chair][Mer] hoped [PRO[+Mer] to meet at 6/apply together for the
grant]]

Note that the representation in (141b) by itself is not able to ensure that PRO
is interpreted as being a set which includes the referent of the matrix subject
as a member. All it says is that PRO is semantically plural. In addition, it does
not distinguish tensed infinitives such as (141a), which license partial control,
from untensed infinitives such as (142), which do not.
(142) a. The chair managed to meet at 6/apply together for the grant
b. [[The chair][Mer] managed [PRO[+Mer] to meet at 6/apply together for the
grant]]

Landau obtains the wanted results by requiring that PRO have its -features
licensed and ascribing a specific set of features to the C- and T-heads in tensed
infinitivals which then allows PRO to get its -features valued through a chain
of agreement relations involving: (i) the matrix T and the matrix subject; (ii) the
matrix T and the embedded C; (iii) the embedded C and the (tensed) infinitival
T; and (iv) the embedded infinitival T and PRO (see sections 2.5.2 and 4.4).
As discussed in detail in section 2.5.2, crucial parts of the postulated feature
system (the R-assignment rule, for instance) are not independently motivated
(something that Landau [2004: 852] himself acknowledges) and the typology
predicted is empirically incorrect in that it has no room for finite control into
indicatives, something that is allowed in Brazilian Portuguese. In addition, the
use of a specific chain of agreement relations to account for partial control
overgenerates and incorrectly allows finite control in languages like English,
for instance. Here we will put these problems aside and focus on some incorrect
empirical predictions that a PRO-based analysis a` la Landau makes with respect
to partial control, in contrast with the MTC.
One such incorrect prediction was already mentioned in section 2.5.2. As
observed by Hornstein (2003), the presence of an embedded predicate that
requires a plural subject is not sufficient for partial control to be licensed, as
shown in (143).
(143)

John hoped [PRO to sing alike/to be mutually supporting]

Notice that in (143) the matrix predicate is of the type that licenses partial
control (cf. [141a]). Thus, the availability of partial control seems to be related
to properties of the embedded predicate as well.

5.6 Partial and split control

185

Hornstein (2003) in fact suggests that only predicates that select a commitative PP can support partial control. Compare the data in (144) and (145), for
example.
(144) a. The chair sang alike/was mutually supporting with Bill
b. The chair left/went out (with Bill)
c. The chair met/applied together for the grant ( with Bill)
(145) a. The chair hoped to sing alike/be mutually supporting
b. The chair hoped to leave/go out

The chair hoped that he and other people would leave/go out
c. The chair hoped to meet/apply together for the grant

Given that predicates like sing alike and be mutually supporting require a
plural subject, (144a) shows that the plural meaning cannot be obtained via
a commitative. Accordingly, these predicates do not license partial control
(cf. [145a]). Examples (144b)/(145b) in turn show that being compatible with
an (adjunct) commitative is not sufficient to license partial control ([145b]
only admits an exhaustive interpretation for the embedded subject). Rather, the
commitative must be selected, as shown by (144c)/(145c).
When the facts in (144) and (145) are taken into consideration, the appeal
of the PRO-based analysis gets bleached. Rather than involving a PRO with
different semantic features, as represented in (141b), the derivation of partialcontrol structures in fact seems to involve the licensing of a null commitative,
as illustrated in (146).
(146) a. [The chair hoped [PRO to meet procommitative at 6]]
b. [The chair hoped [PRO to apply together procommitative for the grant]]

Note that, if partial control just involves the licensing of null commitatives, one need not commit hostages to postulating PRO or assigning special
properties to it. Under the MTC, the embedded subjects of the partial-control
constructions in (146) should in fact be garden-variety NP-traces, as shown in
(147) below.
(147) a. [[The chair]i hoped [ti to meet procommitative at 6]]
b. [[The chair]i hoped [ti to apply together procommitative for the grant]]

Data such as (144) and (145) thus show that it is not the case that partial
control necessarily favors PRO-based analyses or that it is fatal to the MTC. As
seen in (147), the MTC is also compatible with partial-control phenomena. In
fact, we may go one step further and show that the MTC analysis encapsulated
in (147) is empirically superior to PRO-based approaches.

186

Empirical challenges and solutions

First, PRO-based approaches admit unavailable readings with verbs that


select commitatives. Take the sentence in (148), for instance.
(148)

The chair hoped to meet with the president

Under the MTC approach outlined in (147), (148) is to be represented as in


(149) below, where the embedded subject is a trace of the matrix subject. Notice
that the structure in (149) can only support an exhaustive control reading: the
chair is the only person to meet with the president.
(149)

[[The chair]i hoped [ti to meet with the president]]

By contrast, under PRO-based analyses, (148) is to be represented as in (150)


below. Suppose that PRO in (150) is semantically plural (it is marked [+Mer]
in Landaus [2004] terms), a possibility available given that the infinitival is
tensed. If so, (150) should allow an interpretation under which the chair hoped
that a group of people including him would meet with the president. However,
this reading is impossible in (148). Why an overt commitative eliminates an
otherwise available partial-control reading is therefore quite surprising under
PRO-based analyses.
(150)

[[The chair] hoped [PRO to meet with the president]]

Let us now consider the tense restrictions. Suppose we adapt Landaus proposal that tensed and untensed infinitivals contrast in licensing partial control
and assume that tensed infinitivals license null commitative complements, but
tenseless infinitivals do not. At first sight, there is no gain in such translation.
However, when we look closer, the two approaches do make distinct predictions. Under a PRO-based approach, partial control is something related to the
embedded null subject of tensed infinitivals, whereas under the MTC partial
control is related to the licensing of null commitative complements. Thus, we
should in principle be able to find interpretive effects associated with partial
control even when no infinitival clauses are involved.
Bearing this in mind, consider the contrasts in (151) and (152), based on
Rodrigues (2007).
(151) a. The chair met at 6
b. The chair can only meet tomorrow
(152) a. The chair applied together for the grant
b. The chair cannot apply together for the grant

Under a PRO-based approach, (151a) and (152a) are excluded because the subject is semantically singular and there is no position available for a semantically

5.6 Partial and split control

187

plural PRO. As Rodrigues (2007) points out, this reasoning should carry over
to sentences like (151b) and (152b), predicting that these sentences should be
equally unacceptable, contrary to fact. Following Wurmbrands (2006) proposal
that tensed infinitivals actually involve an abstract modal operator (woll),
Rodrigues argues that standard partial constructions involving infinitivals and
data such as (151b) and (152b) can receive a uniform analysis if the null pronoun that acts as the trigger for the semantically plural reading is licensed by
the modal.42
Another argument against PRO-based approaches to partial control and in
favor of the MTC involves secondary predicates (see Rodrigues 2007). Consider
the sentences in (153), for example.
(153) a. John hates to meet angry
b. John wants to meet ready for all contingencies

In each of the sentences in (153), the secondary predicate modifies John.


Under the null commitative approach suggested above coupled with the
MTC, this is no surprise. As illustrated in (154) below, the secondary predicate
modifies the trace of the moved subject. Note that the null commitative is
an indirect object of sorts (it corresponds to an overt PP) and, as we saw in
section 5.5, secondary predicates cannot modify indirect objects.
(154) a. [Johni hates [ti to meet procommitative angry]]
b. [Johni wants [ti to meet procommitative ready for all contingencies]]

By contrast, PRO-based accounts of partial control seem unable to capture the


interpretation of the secondary predicate in sentences such as the ones in (153).
Given that secondary predication is clause-bound, the secondary predicate of
the structures in (155) below cannot modify the matrix subject. Moreover, one
cannot say that this modification is indirectly allowed in virtue of PRO being
plural and John being included in the denotation of PRO. Were that possible,
42 Rodrigues (2007) actually proposes that partial-control constructions involve a complex DP
subject with null pronoun along the lines of (i) below. In the derivation of a partial-control
sentence such as (iia), for instance, the DP of (i) moves to the matrix clause, leaving pro
stranded, as sketched in (iib). Although compatible with the MTC, Rodriguess proposal does
not account for the commitative restrictions on the embedded predicate illustrated by (145) and
(148). Thus, we have reinterpreted her original proposal of a complex DP subject in terms of a
null commitative complement.
(i)

[pro DP]

(ii) a. The chair decided to meet at 6


b. [[The chair]i decided [ti to [[pro ti ] meet at 6]]]

188

Empirical challenges and solutions

we should find a similar reading in a sentence such as (156), with the secondary
predicates modifying individuals denoted by the semantically plural subject.
However, the secondary predicates of (156) must hold of the whole committee
and cannot be restricted to its leaders, for example.
(155) a. [Johni hates [PROi+j to meet angry]]
b. [Johni wants [PROi+j to meet ready for all contingencies]]
(156)

[Its leaders said [that the committee met drunk/angry/ready for anything]]

In addition, Rodrigues (2007) also shows that embedded secondary predicates syntactically agree with the matrix subject in partial-control constructions.
As she observes, this can be clearly seen when the controller involves nouns
such as vtima victim in Brazilian Portuguese, which is feminine regardless of whether its referent is male or female. In a sentence like (157) below,
for instance, the secondary predicate must surface in the feminine singular
form, agreeing in gender and number with the matrix subject. Again, these
agreement facts are exactly what one expects under the commitative approach
coupled with the MTC, as illustrated in (158) (with English words), where the
secondary predicate agrees with the trace of the matrix subject.
(157)

Brazilian Portuguese:
A
vtima
decidiu [se
reunir vestida
informalmente]
The.FEM victim.FEM decided REFL gather dressed.FEM casually
The victim decided to gather dressed casually

(158)

[[The.FEM victim.FEM]i decided [ti to gather dressed.FEM casually]]

Rodrigues (2007) provides one final very ingenious argument in favor of the
MTC based on Torregos (1996) work on control constructions in Spanish such
as (159a), which are arguably related to the possibility of subject doubling in
(159b).
(159)

Spanish (Torrego 1996):


a. No sabemos si
firmar
los linguistas la carta
Not know.1PL whether sign.INF the linguists the letter
We dont know whether the linguists among us should sign the letter
b. Fuimos los linguistas
went.1PL the linguists
The linguists among us went

Rodrigues refers to cases like (159a) as inverse partial control, for the floating
DP in the embedded clause is understood as a subset of the set denoted by
the matrix subject, as indicated by the translation. Given the subject-doubling

5.6 Partial and split control

189

structure in (159b), it is plausible that the inverse partial-control construction in


(159a) also involves subject doubling, that is, the floating DP and the controllee
should form a doubling structure. The relevant question is whether (159a) is to
be represented as in (160), where the floating DP forms a doubling structure
with the trace of the matrix subject, as the MTC would require, or with the
structure in (161), where the floating DP doubles PRO.
(160)

[proi not know.1PL [whether [TP ti sign [vP [ti the linguists] tsign the letter]]]]

(161)

[proi not know.1PL [whether [TP PROi sign [vP [ti the linguists] tsign
the letter]]]]

Rodrigues builds an answer based on the contrast between (159a) and (162a),
which mimics the contrast between (159b) and (162b) observed by Torrego.
(162)

Spanish:
ir
los linguistas
a. Nosotros no sabemos si
We
not know.1PL whether go.INF the linguists
We dont know whether the linguists among us should go
(Rodrigues 2007)

b.

Nosotros fuimos los linguistas


We
went.1PL the linguists
The linguists among us went
(Torrego 1996)

The contrast between (159) and (162) shows that a null first-person plural
pronoun can be doubled, but an overt one cannot. That being so, Rodrigues
concludes that the ungrammaticality of (162a) can only be accounted for by
the MTC structure in (160), but not by the structure in (161). In (160), the
floating DP doubles a trace, i.e., a copy, of the matrix subject. Thus, if the
matrix subject is overt, it should not allow doubling for the same reasons
(162b) does not license it. By contrast, under the PRO-based structure in (161),
the floating DP is not directly associated with the matrix subject, but with
PRO. So, if this association is licit in (159a), it should also be allowed in
(162a), contrary to fact. Again, the empirical coverage provided by the MTC
with respect to inverse partial-control constructions is superior to PRO-based
approaches.43
To conclude. The existence of partial-control interpretations is often taken to
be incompatible with movement theories of control. This section has reviewed
approaches to partial-control phenomena that are fully compatible with the
43 See Rodrigues (2007) for additional arguments.

190

Empirical challenges and solutions

MTC and has also discussed constructions that present serious problems for
PRO-based approaches. However, this should not be taken to imply that we fully
understand partial control. There remain several open questions. For example,
why the extensive speaker and language variation regarding the accessibility of
such readings? All speakers easily get the exhaustive readings and for many the
partial readings are difficult to get if attainable at all. But even in this regard the
MTC proves to be no worse than PRO-based alternatives, which do not have an
explanation for these facts either. All things considered, it is fair to say that the
problems that partial-control phenomena allegedly pose to the MTC are more
related to our lack of understanding of these phenomena than to architectural
features of the MTC.
5.6.2
Split control
Let us now turn to split control. Landau (2000) points out that, although most
verbs do not allow split control, some do, as illustrated in (163) below.44 In this
section we present an MTC approach to split control based on Fujiis (2006)
work on control in Japanese. As Japanese ties the possibility of split control to
a specific particle, it can shed more light on what licenses split control and how
it is derived.
(163)

Johni proposed to Maryk [PROi+k to help each other]

As Fujii shows, Japanese has three mood particles that trigger obligatory
control: the intentive marker -(y)oo, the imperative marker -e/-ro, and the
exhortative marker -(y)oo, as respectively illustrated in (164) below.45 Interestingly, each marker is associated with a different type of obligatory control:
the intentive marker is associated with subject control, the imperative marker
with object control, and the exhortative marker with split control. Here we will
focus on exhortatives.
(164)

Japanese (Fujii 2006):


a. Taroi -wa [PROi boku-no beeguru-o tabe-yoo-to] keikakusita
Taro.TOP
my
bagel.ACC eat.INTENT.C planned
Taro planned to eat my bagel
b. Yokoi -wa Hiroshik -ni [PROk boku-no beeguru-o tabe-ro-to] meireisita
Yoko.TOP Hiroshi.DAT
my
bagel.ACC eat.IMP.C ordered
Yoko ordered Hiroshi to eat my bagel

44 Similar facts have been observed in German, Hebrew, Turkish (see Oded 2006), and Japanese
(see Fujii 2006).
45 Japanese exhortative constructions are interpreted in a way similar to English lets-constructions.
See Fujii (2006) for discussion.

5.6 Partial and split control

191

c. Taroi -wa Hiroshik -ni [PROi+k otagai-o tasuke-a-oo-to]


Taro.TOP Hiroshi.DAT
each
other.ACC
teiansita
help.RECIP.EXHORT.C proposed
Taro proposed to Hiroshi to help each other

Fujji shows that, aside for the ban on split antecedents, exhortative constructions such as (164c) test positive for all the standard diagnostics of obligatory
control. Relevant to our current discussion is the fact that the antecedents of
exhortative constructions must be local to one another, that is, they cannot be
in different clauses,46 as illustrated by the contrast in (165) below. Note that in
(165a) there are two local controllers for PRO in the intermediate clause, kare
and Hiroshi. In (165b), on the other hand, there is only one local antecedent
available, kare.
(165)

Japanese (Fujii 2006):


a. Taroi -wa otooto-ni
[karei -ga Hiroshik -ni [PROi+k
Taro.TOP brother.DAT he.NOM Hiroshi.DAT
otagai-o
sonkeisi-a-oo-to]
itta-koto]-o tugeta
each other.ACC respect.RECIP.EXHORT.C said.C.ACC told
Taroi told his brother that hei said to Hiroshik to respect each otheri+k
b. Taroi -wa Hiroshik -ni [karei -ga [PROi+k otagai-o
Taro.TOP Hiroshi.DAT he.NOM
each other.ACC
sonkeisi-a-oo-to]
omotteiru-koto]-o tugeta
respect.RECIP.EXHORT.C thinks.C.ACC
told
Taroi told Hiroshik that hei thought that theyi+k should respect each other

Also relevant to the present discussion is a particular gap in the mood


paradigm in Japanese. As seen above, Japanese allows subject control with
intentive mood (cf. [164a]), object control with imperative mood (cf. [164b]),
and split control with exhortative mood (cf. [164c]). Fujii (2006) points out that
this leaves out one possibility: subject control in a two-DP argument structure,
i.e., the flipside of what exists in the imperative mood, as sketched in (166).
(166)

[DP1 DP2 [CP PRO1 . . . MOOD . . . ] V]

Both the ungrammaticality of (165b) and the unavailability of mood markers associated with the control configuration in (166) have the flavor of a
minimality/minimal-distance principle effect. But if minimality obtains, how
46 See Landau (2000) for similar observations regarding split control in English.

192

Empirical challenges and solutions

are split-control configurations like (165a) derived? Fujii argues that the mood
particles highlighted in (164) head mood phrases (MoodPs) and that there is no
case available for the subject of MoodPs. In the particular case of exhortative
-(y)oo, Fujii proposes that they license some sort of coordinate structure in its
Spec, as represented in (167).
[MoodP [ + ] [Mood -(y)oo TP]]

(167)

Suppose that the complex specifier in (167) is some sort of commitative


expression. If so, split-control structures such as (164c) or (165a) can be derived
along the lines of (168) below. In (168a), [+ ] moves to the internal -position
of the subcategorizing V. Under the assumption that [+ ] is complex with
+ akin to a null commitative preposition, does not count as an intervener
and can move to [Spec, vP] without any minimality problems. In the relevant
respects, movement of in (168b) is parallel to what we saw with subjectcontrol cases involving promise (see section 5.5.1).47
(168) a. [VP [+ ] [V V . . . [MoodP [ [+ ]] [Mood -(y)oo TP]]]]

b. [vP [v v [VP [+ ] [V V . . . [MoodP [ [+ ]] [Mood -(y)oo TP]]]]]]

Going back to English, it is plausible that its split-control constructions also


involve a derivation with an exhortative MoodP, as in (168). The sentence
in (163), for example, repeated in (169) below, can be derived as sketched
47 The derivation that Fujii (2006) actually proposes for licit instances of split control involves
the steps illustrated in (i) below. moves to receive the -role of the matrix V, pied-piping
(cf. [ia]). then moves to the matrix [Spec, vP], yielding (ib).
(i) a.

b.

[VP [ + ] [V V . . . [MoodP [ + ] [Mood -(y)oo TP]]]]

[vP [v v [VP [ + ] [V V . . . [MoodP [ + ] [Mood -(y)oo TP]]]]]]

Although compatible with the MTC, the derivation above seems to make the incorrect
prediction that a sentence such as (iia), for instance, could mean John washed Bill and himself,
given the structure in (iib). In order to block (iib), we have kept the gist of Fujiis original proposal
that split control involves some sort of coordination, but reinterpreted it under a commitative
structure.
(ii) a. John washed Bill
b. [vP John v [VP washed [John + Bill]]]

5.6 Partial and split control

193

in (170). The considerable amount of overlapping between the verbs that


allow exhortative -(y)oo in Japanese and the verbs that allow split control
in English suggests that something along these lines may indeed be on the right
track.
(169)

John proposed to Mary to help each other

(170) a. [VP proposed . . . [MoodP [John [+Mary]] to help each other]]

b. [vP John proposed-v [VP [to [+Mary]] tproposed . . . [MoodP [John

[+Mary]] . . . ]]]

The account reviewed above leaves several questions open. For instance, we
have witnessed above another interaction between commitatives and modals
(see section 5.6.1). Why interactions like these should hold is far from clear.
For example, why is split control limited to exhortatives in Japanese? Why do
imperatives not support such readings in Japanese? The problem becomes more
pressing when one sees that the semantic apparatus that handles imperatives is
easily extended to accommodate exhortatives. It appears that they only differ
in that imperatives encumber the addressees to-do list while exhortatives fill in
the speakers to-do list as well. It is easy to understand why exhortatives require
plural (commitative) subjects, but it is harder to understand why imperatives
must resist them.
As for the question of why certain verbs resist split control, Landau (2000)
and Fujii (2006) propose that this follows from the semantics. According to
Landau (2000: 55), for instance, [u]nlike propose and ask, recommend and
order do not allow split control for obvious reasons, given that in order to
engage in some action, one does not recommend to/order other people to do
it. We do not find this at all obvious. Why can one not order someone or
recommend to someone to engage in a collaborative activity, e.g., washing
each other? Why can John ordered Mary to wash each other not mean that
John ordered Mary to engage with him in the activity wherein each of John
and Mary washes the other. This does not seem semantically untoward, nor are
recommendations to do so any odder semantically. The fact is that split control
seems to be very restricted, perhaps applying only to verbs that support exhortative interpretations. However, why this is so and what exactly characterizes
exhortations so that they essentially differ from imperatives and other kinds
of moods remains, we believe, quite unclear. This said, were there a semantic

194

Empirical challenges and solutions

restriction of the kind Landau and Fujii suggest, it could be easily combined
with the MTC (as Fujii observes).
5.7

Conclusion

As discussed throughout this volume, the MTC takes obligatory control to be


established via A-movement. The only relevant difference between obligatory
control, on the one hand, and raising, passivization, and (local) scrambling,
on the other, is that the relevant A-movement in the case of obligatory control is triggered by -reasons. We think that this difference is not significant
enough (at least not in a framework like minimalism, which does not recognize any substantive notion of D-structure) to warrant a special control operation/construction/rule. However, we do think this thematic difference is important when it comes to explaining some divergences between obligatory-control
constructions and the other types of constructions that rely on A-movement.
Indeed, as a research strategy, we would like it to be true of any difference
between obligatory control and, say, raising that it reduce to the extra thematic
relation established under control.
In the previous sections we have examined a variety of empirical phenomena
that have been claimed to pose insuperable problems for the MTC. We have
shown that, under close scrutiny, all the allegedly deadly counter-examples
can receive plausible analyses under the MTC. Even more importantly, all the
answers given stemmed from two simple ideas: (i) that, if control involves
movement, (relativized) minimality must be obeyed; and (ii) that quirky-casemarked DPs must be stripped of their quirky case if they are to be further marked. What we have done is make the relevant configurations explicit so that
minimality can be properly computed and -marking properly characterized.
All in all, it seems to us that, rather than presenting fatal counter-examples to
the MTC as often claimed, most of the phenomena reviewed in this chapter
end up lending strong conceptual and empirical support to the MTC. It is,
of course, up to the reader to decide if we are right and to what degree the
purported difficulties for the MTC reviewed and reanalyzed here vitiate the
project of reducing control to movement.

6 On non-obligatory control

6.1

Introduction

Within the MTC, non-obligatory control (NOC) has been pushed to the side,
with the focus of inquiry resting on obligatory control (OC). The most obvious
reason for this is that, as opposed to OC, NOC does not resort to movement.
Nonetheless, the MTC is incomplete without an account of the distribution
of NOC and in this chapter we would like to present our thoughts on this
issue.1
But before we proceed, a disclaimer is in order. As NOC is the elsewhere
case (when movement is not involved), there may be different types of NOC
which in turn may be subject to different licensing conditions. The discussion
below presents the beginnings of an account of NOC that we believe is quite
reasonable. However, should it turn out to be partially or totally incorrect, this
does not affect the essence of the preceding chapters. As mentioned above,
the MTC effectively has something to say about control relations that exhibit
movement diagnostics but not much about construal relations that are not
derived by movement. Thus, although we think that the proposal to be discussed
below fits snugly with the version of MTC advocated in this volume, the two
are to some extent independent from one another. That said, let us move to the
discussion proper.
The chapter is organized as follows. In section 6.2, we discuss configurations
where OC and NOC are in complementary distribution and present Hornsteins
(1999, 2001, 2003, 2007) proposal that NOC PRO is a null pronoun and that the
complementary distribution between OC and NOC is couched on an economy
competition between movement and pronominalization. Section 6.3 examines
(apparent) counter-examples to this complementarity and section 6.4 outlines
an approach according to which the interpretation of NOC PRO is a dual
function of the grammar and the parser. Section 6.5 concludes the chapter.

1 The discussion to be presented below is primarily based on Boeckx and Hornstein (2007).

195

196

On non-obligatory control

6.2

Obligatory vs. non-obligatory control and


economy computations

The pairs of examples in (1)(6) below illustrate the systematic contrast


between OC and NOC (see Chapter 2). Example (1a) shows that OC PRO
requires an antecedent; (2a) that the antecedent must be local; (3a) that the
antecedent must be in a c-commanding position; (4a) that OC yields sloppy
readings under ellipsis; (5a) that OC PRO must be interpreted as a bound variable when associated with an only-DP; and (6a) that OC PRO only admits de
se reading in unfortunate contexts. On the other hand, the corresponding bexamples show that exactly the opposite holds of NOC PRO: it does not require
an antecedent (cf. [1b]); if it has an antecedent, the antecedent need not be local
[(cf. 2b]) or in a c-commanding position (cf. [3b]); and it allows both strict
and sloppy readings under ellipsis (cf. [4b]), bound and coreferential readings
when associated with only-DPs (cf. [5b]), and de se and non-de se readings
(cf. [6b]).
(1) a.
b.

It was expected PRO to shave himself


It is illegal PRO to park here

(2) a.
b.

Johni thinks that it was expected PROi to shave himself


Johni thinks that Mary said that PROi shaving himself is vital

(3) a.
b.

Johni s campaign expects PROi to shave himself


Johni s friends believe that PROi keeping himself under control is vital if he
is to succeed

(4) a.
b.
(5) a.
b.
(6) a.
b.

Johni expects PROi to win and Billk does too


(and Billk expects himself to win, not and Billk expects himi to win)
Johni thinks that PROi getting his resume in order is crucial and Bill does too
(Billk thinks that hisi/k getting his resume in order is crucial)
[Only Churchill]i remembers PROi giving the Blood, Sweat, and Tears
speech
Only Churchill remembers that PRO giving the BST speech was momentous
[The unfortunate]i expects PROi to get a medal
[The unfortunate]i believes that PROi getting a medal is unlikely

Note that the b-examples in (2)(6) also illustrate a typical environment


where an NOC PRO can be found: an island configuration. In fact, the complementary distribution between OC and NOC generally correlates with environments where movement can or cannot take place. Hornstein (2001, 2003,
2007) accounts for this correlation by reinterpreting in minimalist terms the old
idea that (resumptive) pronouns are employed as a last resort saving strategy

6.2 Obligatory vs. non-obligatory control

197

when movement fails. More concretely, Hornstein argues that movement is


more economical than pronominalization. Thus, if OC PRO is a residue of
movement under the MTC, as argued in the previous chapters, NOC PRO
can be analyzed as a null pronoun (pro) which is resorted to when movement
is not possible. Under this view, the structures in (6), for instance, are to be
represented along the lines of (7) below, with a trace in (7a) and pro in (7b).
Crucially, they cannot be represented as in (8): in (8b) movement of the embedded subject should induce an island violation and in (8a) there is an economy
violation as the less economical option of pronominalization was employed
instead of movement (cf. [7a]) in a configuration where both options would
lead to convergent results.
(7) a.
b.
(8) a.
b.

[[The unfortunate]i expects [ti to get a medal]]


[[The unfortunate]i believes that [[proi getting a medal] is unlikely]]

[[The unfortunate]i expects [proi to get a medal]]


[[The unfortunate]i believes that [[ti getting a medal] is unlikely]]

The distribution and interpretation of pro in the b-examples of (1)(6) to


a great extent mimic the distribution and interpretation of overt pronouns, as
illustrated in (9) below.2 That is, an overt pronoun does not need a linguistic
antecedent (cf. [9a]); it may be associated with a non-local (cf. [9b]) or nonc-commanding (cf. [9c]) antecedent; it admits both strict and sloppy readings
under ellipsis (cf. [9d]), bound and coreferential readings in sentences like (9e),
and de se and non-de se reading in unfortunate contexts (cf. [9f]).
(9) a.
b.
c.
d.
e.
f.

It is illegal for him to park here


Johni thinks that Mary said that hisi shaving himself is vital
Johni s friends believe that hisi keeping himself under control is vital if he is
to succeed
Johni thinks that hisi getting his resume in order is crucial and Bill does too
(Billk thinks that hisi/k getting his resume in order is crucial)
Only Churchill remembers that his giving the BST speech was momentous
[The unfortunate]i believes that hisi getting a medal is unlikely

This general competition between movement and pronominalization extends


beyond standard instances of control.3 For instance, Floripi (2003), Rodrigues
2 But see section 6.3 below for a discussion of cases where null and overt pronouns do not go
hand in hand.
3 See Hornstein (2001, 2003, 2007) for further arguments, technical implementation, and general discussion on the competition between movement and pronominalization with respect to
derivational economy.

198

On non-obligatory control

(2004), and Floripi and Nunes (2009) show that, in Brazilian Portuguese, a null
possessor sitting within an object displays all the diagnostics of OC. Thus, the
empty category in (10) below must be interpreted as the closest c-commanding
antecedent (cf. [10a]) and only admits sloppy readings under ellipsis (cf. [10b]),
bound readings when associated with only-DPs (cf. [10c]), and de se readings
(cf. [10d]). Assuming Hornsteins (1999, 2001) theory of control, these authors
analyze the empty category in (10) as a trace left by movement of the possessor
to the specifier of the closest vP, as illustrated in (11).
(10)
a.

Brazilian Portuguese (Floripi and Nunes 2009):


[O Pedrom acha que [o amigo [d[o Joao]i ]]k telefonou
The Pedro thinks that the friend of-the Joao
called
para a mae eck/ i/ m ]
to the mother
Pedrom thinks that [Joaoi s friend]k called hisk/ i/ m mother

b.

[[O Joao]i vai telefonar para a mae eci ] e [a


The Joao goes call
to the mother and the
Maria tambem vai]
Maria also
goes
Joao will call his mother and Mary will call her mother, too (sloppy
reading only)

c.

d.

(11)

[[So o Joao] ligou para a mae ec]


Only the Joao called to the mother
Only Joao called his mother Nobody else called his own mother
NOT Nobody else called Joaos mother
[Non-de se context: Joao doesnt remember who he is or that the person
under discussion is his brother]
#[Joao passou a admirar o irmao ec]
Joao passed to admire the brother
Joao came to admire his brother (de se reading only; infelicitous in this
context)
Brazilian Portuguese:
[TP [o Joao] [vP ti ligou [PP para [DP a mae ti ]]]]
The Joao called
to
the mother
Johni called hisi mother

Interestingly, as observed by Floripi (2003) and Floripi and Nunes (2009),


if the null possessor sits within a subject, we find a different behavior: the
antecedent for the null possessor need not be within its clause (cf. [12a]) and
the null possessor is compatible with strict and sloppy readings (cf. [12b]),
bound and coreferential readings (cf. [12c]), and de se and non-de se readings

6.2 Obligatory vs. non-obligatory control

199

(cf. [12d]). In other words, the null possessors in (12) pattern like their overt
counterparts in (13).
(12)
a.

b.

Brazilian Portuguese (Floripi and Nunes 2009):


[[O Joao]i disse que [[o amigo eci ] vai viajar]]
The Joao said that the friend
goes travel
Joaoi said that hisi friend is going to travel
[[A Maria]i vai recomendar a pessoa [que [um amigo eci ]
The Maria goes recommend the person that a friend
entrevistou] e
[o Joao]k tambem vai]
interviewed and the Joao also
goes
Maria is going to recommend the person that a friend of hers interviewed
and Joao is also going to recommend a person that a friend of his/hers
interviewed (sloppy and strict readings available)

c.

[[So o Joao] leu o livro [que [a mae ec] indicou]]


Only the Joao read the book that the mother recommended
Only Joao read the book that his mother recommended
Nobody else read the book that his own mother recommended
or Nobody else read the book that Joaos mother recommended

d.

[Non-de se context: Joao doesnt remember who he is or that the person


under discussion is his brother]
Joaoi se
surpreendeu [quando [o irmao eci ] fez um discurso]
Joao REFL surprised
when
the brother
made a speech
Joao got surprised when his brother made a speech (non-de se reading
available)

(13)
a.

b.

Brazilian Portuguese (Floripi and Nunes 2009):


[[O Joao]i disse que [[o amigo delei ] vai viajar]]
The Joao said that the friend of-him goes travel
Joao said that his friend is going to travel
[[A Maria]i vai recomendar a pessoa [que [um amigo
The Maria goes recommend the person that a friend
[o Joao]k tambem vai]
delai ] entrevistou] e
of-her interviewed and the Joao also
goes
Maria is going to recommend the person that a friend of hers interviewed
and Joao is also going to recommend a person that a friend of his/hers
interviewed (sloppy and strict readings available)

c.

[[So o Joao] leu o livro [que [a mae


dele] indicou]]
Only the Joao read the book that the mother of-him recommended
Only Joao read the book that his mother recommended
Nobody else read the book that his own mother recommended
or Nobody else read the book that Joaos mother recommended

200

On non-obligatory control
d.

[Non-de se context: Joao doesnt remember who he is or that the person


under discussion is his brother]
surpreendeu [quando [o irmao delei ] fez um discurso]
Joaoi se
Joao REFL surprised
when
the brother of-him made a speech
Joao got surprised when his brother made a speech (non-de se reading
available)

Adopting Hornsteins economy approach to the contrast between OC and


NOC, Floripi (2003) and Floripi and Nunes (2009) argue that the null possessor
in (12) is a null pronoun, as illustrated in (14), and that pronominalization is
sanctioned in these cases as movement out of the subject position is not allowed.
Crucially, if pronominalization were generally available, the sentences in (12)
should exhibit no interpretive restrictions thanks to the alternative derivation
with pro. Again, if movement is possible, it preempts pronominalization.
(14)

Brazilian Portuguese:
[[O Joao]i disse que [[o amigo proi ] vai viajar]]
The Joao said that the friend
goes travel
Joaoi said that hisi friend is going to travel

Let us examine a slightly more complex case which sheds additional light on
the correlation between the impossibility of movement and the availability of
pro (and hence NOC). First, consider the PRO-gate sentence (see Higginbotham
1980) in (15) below. Hornstein and Kiguchi (2003) and Kiguchi (2004)
show that PRO-gate structures like (15) display all the diagnostics of OC
and propose that they involve sideward movement from within the infinitival
subject to the object position. The derivation of (15), for instance, is taken to
proceed along the lines of (16). After the two independent syntactic objects
in (16a) are built, the computational system copies Mary and merges it with
delighted, as shown in (16b). Further computations yield the simplified structure in (16c), which surfaces as (15) after the copy of Mary within the clausal
subject is deleted in the phonological component (cf. [16d]). A crucial feature
of the derivation sketched in (16) is that, as opposed to what we saw in the
b-examples in (2)(6) and in the null-possessor constructions in (12), movement of Mary in (16b) is licit as it takes place before the non-finite clause
becomes a subject island (see section 4.5.1.2). Once movement is possible,
pronominalization is blocked, as shown in (17).4
4 It is also consistent with what follows if we assume a derivation reminiscent of Belletti and
Rizzis (1988) analysis of psych-verb constructions, with the surface subject in (15) being basegenerated in a position lower than the position occupied by the surface object, and movement of

6.2 Obligatory vs. non-obligatory control


(15)

[[PROi washing herself] delighted Maryi ]

(16) a.

Applications of select and merge:


[Mary washing herself] delighted
Applications of copy and merge (sideward movement):
[Maryi washing herself] [delighted Maryi ]
Application of merge:
[[Maryi washing herself] delighted Maryi ]
Deletion in the phonological component:
[[Maryi washing herself] delighted Maryi ]

b.
c.
d.
(17)

201

[[heri washing herself] delighted Maryi ]

Now consider what happens when structures such as (15) are embedded, as
illustrated in (18).
(18) a.
b.

John said that [[PROi / heri washing herself] delighted Maryi ]


Johnk said that [[prok /himk washing himself] delighted Mary]

Example (18a) is unsurprising as it replicates what we saw in (15)/(17): if


movement of Mary to the object of delighted is allowed (cf. [16] and
(i) in footnote 4), pronominalization is not. Conversely, once movement of
John from within the gerund to the matrix clause in (18b) is out due to
the subject island, pronominalization is possible. The contrast between (18a)
and (18b) shows that structures should not be classified as OC or NOC, for
a given structure may allow OC or NOC. Rather, it is relations that are OC
or NOC.
That the MTC treats OC and NOC as relations is an important point
that is worth emphasizing. OC and NOC are descriptive predicates that are
more analogous to bound and free than to interrogative and declarative, i.e.,
OC and NOC describe relations between nominal expressions, not selection/
subcategorization relations between predicates and types of clausal complements. As grammatical theory does not distinguish clauses as reflexive or
pronominal depending on whether they contain anaphors or pronouns, it
should not, by parity of reasoning, identify sentences as OC/NOC clauses.
Mary proceeding in an upward fashion, as sketched in (i) below. Regardless of whether (15) is
to be derived along the lines of (16) or (i), the important point to bear in mind is that movement
of Mary is licit and therefore preempts pronominalization.
(i) a.
b.
c.
d.

[VP delighted [Mary washing herself]]


[VP Maryi [delighted [ti washing herself]]]
[vP delightedk [VP Maryi [tk [ti washing herself]]]]
[TP [ti washing herself]m [vP delightedk [VP Maryi [tk tm ]]]]

202

On non-obligatory control

Consequently, to say that a given predicate selects/subcategorizes for an OC or


NOC structure can only be viewed as a descriptive statement, with no explanatory ambitions.5
With this general picture in mind, let us now consider some potential
problems.

6.3

Some problems

Consider the representation of the sentence in (19) given in (20).


(19)

John persuaded Mary to leave

(20)

John1 persuaded Mary2 [PRO2/1 to leave]

Under the MTC, PRO in (20) is a copy/trace of A-movement and this explains
why Mary is the antecedent and John cannot be (see section 3.4.1). For
John to be the antecedent requires that it move over Mary on its way to
[Spec, vP]; as this violates minimality, it cannot be the antecedent. In contrast,
movement of Mary from the embedded clause to the Spec of persuade does
not violate minimality.
Assuming that pronominalization and movement compete and that
movement is derivationally more economical than pronominalization (see
section 6.2), we account for why (19) cannot be associated with the structure in (21a) below. Successful movement of Mary to the Spec of persuade
blocks pronominalization. However, this account does not explain why the
illicit movement of John in the derivation of (19) does not make room for
pronominalization. In other words, why can (19) not be associated with the
structure in (21b), where pronominalization rescues a failed movement connection between the two subject positions? What prevents a DP that cannot
licitly antecede PRO (i.e., a copy/trace of A-movement) from binding a pro
(i.e., a null pronoun) in the same position?6
5 This claim has the following consequence: verbs cannot be classified as taking OC complements
and so a standard approach to OC, one which treats control as a selection relation between
a predicate and its embedded sentential complement, is conceptually misguided. For more
discussion see section 7.2 below.
6 One possible answer to this question is not open to us: that persuade selects for an OC
complement. If what we say in footnote 5 is correct, this makes as much sense as claiming
that a predicate selects for an embedded reflexive structure. On one reading of the inclusiveness
condition this kind of selection would be ruled out, for it codes grammatical restrictions in lexical
selection. Lexical items cannot be so coded on a strict reading of inclusiveness.

6.3 Some problems


(21) a.
b.

203

John1 persuaded Mary2 [pro2 to leave]


John1 persuaded Mary2 [pro1 to leave]

To phrase the problem differently, we have assumed that a coupling between


an antecedent and a pronoun is licit just in case movement cannot establish
the same relation. If one can move from a position to another, a DP in the
target cannot bind a pronoun in the launch site, i.e., the position of the
trace. However, this also implies that if movement is not possible between
positions A and B then binding should be. What we see in (21b) is a concrete
example of this option. However, we also see that it is impossible; (19) cannot
be interpreted with John as the leaver.
Consider another problematic case:
(22)

John kissed Mary without getting embarrassed

Example (22) is a case of adjunct control. As discussed in detail in section


4.5.1, adjunct control involves sideward movement from the subject position
of the embedded clause before it becomes an adjunct. Furthermore, given the
preference for merge over move, adjunct control involves subject control, rather
than object control, as represented in (23).
(23)

John1 kissed Mary2 without PRO1/2 getting embarrassed

If sideward movement of John from the position of PRO in (23) is licit, we


expect a coreferential pronoun to be ruled out in this position, which is indeed
the case, as shown in (24) below. By the same reasoning, if sideward movement
of Mary in (23) is not allowed, the question is why pronominalization cannot
save the derivation. That is, why can Mary in (22) not be the one who gets
embarrassed, given the availability of the structure in (25)?
(24)

John1 kissed Mary without him1 getting embarrassed


John1 kissed Mary2 without pro2 getting embarrassed

(25)

Note that the unacceptability of (22) with the structure in (25) is even more
troublesome than the unacceptability of (19) under the representation in (21b).
As opposed to (21b), the overt counterpart of (25) yields an acceptable result,
as shown in (26).
(26) a.
b.

John1 persuaded Mary [him1 to leave]


John kissed Mary1 without her1 getting embarrassed

A similar pattern is found in null-possessor constructions in Brazilian Portuguese. In a sentence such as (27) below, movement from the null-possessor

204

On non-obligatory control

position can only go as far as the lower [Spec, vP] without violating minimality,
as sketched in (28a). Thus, the null possessor in (27) must be interpreted as the
lower subject and economy considerations regarding the derivational cost of
movement and pronominalization exclude the representation in (28b).
(27)

(28) a.
b

Brazilian Portuguese:
[O Joao]k acha que [o Pedro]i vai ligar para a mae eci/ k
The Joao thinks that the Pedro goes call to the mother
Joao thinks that Pedroi is going to call hisi mother

[O Joao] acha que [o Pedro]i vai ligar para a mae ti


[O Joao] acha que [o Pedro]i vai ligar para a mae proi

By the same token, once movement of o Joao in (29a) below is excluded


due to the intervention of the embedded subject, the question is why the null
possessor in (27) cannot be interpreted as the matrix subject under the structure
in (29b) with a null pronoun, despite the fact that an overt pronoun allows this
interpretation, as illustrated in (30). So why is a null pronoun with the same
reading unacceptable?
(29) a.
b.
(30)

[O Joao]k acha que [o Pedro] vai ligar para a mae ti


[O Joao]k acha que [o Pedro] vai ligar para a mae prok
Brazilian Portuguese:
delek
[O Joao]k acha que [o Pedro]i vai ligar para a mae
The Joao thinks that the Pedro goes call to the mother of-him
Joaok thinks that Pedro is going to call hisk mother

We outline a possible answer in the next section.

6.4

A proposal

If we insist that the problems in (21b), (25), and (29b), repeated below in (31),
get a unified approach (not an obvious requirement, but not a bad one either),
the fact that the overt pronouns in (26b) and (30), repeated in (32), allow
the relevant readings suggests that more than grammatical requirements are at
issue. What else could be at stake? Following Boeckx and Hornstein (2007), we
would like to suggest a parsing-based approach. More particularly, we propose
that the structures in (31) are not blocked by the grammar, but neither would
ever be accepted by a well-behaved parser.7
7 If we also assume that producers and parsers meet similar constraints, then this would not be
produced either. Such an assumption is natural in any kind of analysis-by-synthesis model.

6.4 A proposal
(31) a.
b.
c.

John1 persuaded Mary [pro1 to leave]


John kissed Mary2 without pro2 getting embarrassed
Brazilian Portuguese:
[O Joao]k acha que [o Pedro] vai ligar para a mae prok
The Joao thinks that the Pedro goes call to the mother
Joaok thinks that Pedro is going to call hisk mother

(32) a.
b.

John kissed Mary1 without her1 getting embarrassed


Brazilian Portuguese:
delek
[O Joao]k acha que [o Pedro] vai ligar para a mae
The Joao thinks that the Pedro goes call to the mother of-him
Joaok thinks that Pedro is going to call hisk mother

205

Let us make the following (as far as we can tell, fairly standard) assumptions:
(33) a.
b.

Parsers move from left to right and project structure rapidly and
deterministically on the basis of local information
Parsers are transparent with respect to grammars. So, if grammars encode a
condition, parsers respect it.8

Given the assumption in (33b), we expect parsers to prefer traces to pronouns


(if grammars prefer movement to pronominalization) and, consequently, that
parsers will treat gaps as copies/traces in preference to analyzing them as
null pronominal pros. In addition, we expect parsers to be sensitive to earlier
information. As a parser builds structure left to right, it will prefer to treat a
potential gap as a copy/trace (rather than a pro) if it can.
Take the sentence in (19), for instance, repeated in (34).
(34)

John persuaded Mary to leave

As the sentence is parsed, we arrive at to and the parser realizes that it must
assign a subject to the embedded clause. Moreover, the parser sees that the
subject is a null category, either a pro or PRO (= trace/copy). As the parser
incorporates the principles of the grammar and grammars prefer movement
to pronominalization, the parser prefers to drop a trace here if it can. As it
can, it does, and we get (35) below. Finally, the trace/copy in (35) must have
Mary as its antecedent due to minimality. Thus, (34) gets the parse in (35),
which requires that Mary be the antecedent of PRO.
(35)

John persuaded Mary [t to leave]

As for (31a), it would require that at to the parser drop a pro in the subject
position, for the only empty category that could take John as antecedent is a
8 This does not imply that grammars are identical to parsers (Phillips 1996) a position which we
think is untenable (Phillips [2004] appears to agree on this). Our assumption only implies that
the parser respects the design features of grammars. For discussion of the transparency relation
between grammars and parsers, see Berwick and Weinberg (1984).

206

On non-obligatory control

null pronoun. However, to drop a pro requires ignoring the parsers (built-in)
preference for a trace/copy over a pronoun, all things being equal a preference
the parser has in virtue of being structurally transparent to the grammar, which
prefers movement over pronominalization. This makes (31a) computationally
unavailable and this accounts for the lack of the indicated interpretation.9
The same account extends to (31b) and (31c). When the parser gets to the
subject position within the gerund in (31b) or the possessor position in (31c)
and needs to drop an empty category, it must drop a trace/copy if it can. Thus,
it prefers a PRO to a pro. As a PRO can be licitly dropped here, it must
be. If it is, however, then John must be the antecedent in (31b) due to mergeover-move computations and o Pedro must be the antecedent in (31c) due
to minimality. In other words, once the parser analyzes the null subject of the
gerund and the null possessor as traces, the indicated readings in (31b) and
(31c) become unavailable.
One point is worth emphasizing here. The preference the parser displays
arises as a design feature of a parser that conforms to transparency (a very good
condition perhaps an optimal one for regulating the relation between grammars and parsers). It is often assumed that parsing strictures can be overridden
given greater resources. So, for example, center-embedding structures can be
parsed given more memory space. The suggestion above, however, cannot
be so easily ameliorated. The problem is not one where extra resources would
help. If parsing principles must respect grammatical ones (i.e., if transparency
holds), then a parser cannot circumvent these principles by using additional
memory or attention resources.10 The parse is simply not available.
Observe that this account turns on there being an empty category to be parsed.
By seeing nothing there, the parser must decide what sort of empty category
to drop in the relevant position. As it prefers dropping traces if it can, it drops a
trace and not a null pronoun. However, if there is an overt pronoun occupying
the same position, the parser is not faced with any choice as to what it must do
as overt pronouns are grammatically licit here. Thus, we can derive sentences
like (32a) and (32b) with an overt pronoun anteceded by Mary and o Pedro.

9 Our discussion has reified parsing by adverting to properties of a well-designed parser.


However, the account survives even if in place of parsers all we have is parsing. The transparency
assumption then would amount to saying that, when using the grammar to divine the nature of an
empty category, parsing adopts those principles prized by the grammar. Thus, on encountering
a phonetic gap, a trace is preferred to pro.
10 This does not mean that a pro can never be placed where a PRO can be. See below for a case
where a pro can be posited in a place where a PRO is licit in order to advance another parsing
desideratum.

6.4 A proposal

207

Consider now the last set of cases. We noted that examples like (18b),
repeated here in (36), are fine with the indicated interpretation.
(36)

Johnk said that [[prok washing himself] delighted Mary]

Here the parser gets to the subject gerund and encounters an empty category.11
It can treat it as a copy/trace or a pro. Note, however, that the empty category
is inside an island and if the parser wants to link John to this element, it
must treat it as a pro. Observe that if the empty category were analyzed as
a copy/trace, the connection with John would be illicit as it would require
movement from an island. As a PRO cannot provide the support for this
relation, a pro is licensed by the grammar.
However, this does not end matters. We have seen that (37) is also acceptable.
(37)

John said that [[PROi washing herself] delighted Maryi ]

The PRO here is a residue of movement.12 So it seems that the parser can
drop a trace here. Why then does this not prevent dropping a pro in (36)?
The answer is that the parser here must weigh a competing parsing demand.
It is known that parsers like to assign interpretations to empty categories (and
dependent elements in general) very quickly.13 Thus, pronouns quite generally
greedily appropriate suitable interpretive antecedents (referential anchors) very
rapidly on-line. If we add the assumption that parsers are interpretively greedy
to our previous two assumptions in (33), then in cases such as (36) and (37),
the parser has competing preferences: it would like to assign an interpretation
to the empty category (at this point in the parse) and it would prefer to treat
the empty category as a trace rather than a pronoun. In contexts like (36)
and (37) these desiderata pull in opposite directions: if the empty category is
understood as a pro it can be related to John and so can rapidly be provided
with an interpretation at this point. However, this will also require overriding
its preference for traces over pronouns. On the other hand, if it drops a trace
11 The parser knows that this is a subject because it follows that and because it knows that
believe does not take gerundive complements. This kind of structural and lexical information
is standardly assumed to be available on-line to the parser. Thus, at the point where the gerund
is encountered, the relevant information that the gerund is a subject (and hence an island) is
known.
12 Either sideward movement (cf. [16]) or movement as in a psych-verb construction (cf. [i] in
footnote 4).
13 See, for example, Nicol and Swinney (1989), Osterhout and Mobley (1995), and Badecker
and Straub (2002), for discussion. Thanks to Nina Kazanina for very helpful discussion and
references.

208

On non-obligatory control

here, it can adhere to its preference for traces over pronouns (i.e., PRO over
pro), but it cannot resolve the interpretation of the empty category at this point
(as there is no antecedent yet available for the copy/trace). Recall that this is a
case where the antecedent will only become visible downstream and our parser
operates from left to right (cf. [33a]). In short, as both options have their virtues,
we suggest that both parses are available.14
It is instructive to compare (36) and (37) with the structures in (31). In
(31) the potential antecedents are both to the left of the empty category.
Thus, if the empty category is analyzed as a trace, the parser not only complies with transparency (i.e., dropping a trace), but also satisfies its desire
to interpret the empty category quickly as it may rely on the local information already parsed. By contrast, in (36) and (37) the potential antecedents
for the empty categories are on opposite sides, creating a situation in which
transparency and quick assignment of interpretation to the empty category
pull in opposite directions, yielding two distinct outputs: if transparency is
enforced, we get OC (cf. [37]); if quick interpretation is enforced, we have NOC
(cf. [36]).
If this analysis is roughly on the right track, then some predictions follow.
Consider a sentence like (38), for instance, uttered discourse initially.
(38)

Having to wash behind the ears made Mary angry at Bill

Here, there is no parsing advantage to interpreting the empty category as a


null pronoun (there is nothing to link the empty category to so that it can be
quickly interpreted). As such, we would expect the parser to drop a PRO
here, giving us a structure like (39).
(39)

[PRO having to wash behind the ears] . . .

Thus, the parser will analyze the empty category as a residue of A-movement.
In (38) the controller of PRO will then necessarily be Mary.15 Note that, were
there a pro here, it should be able to have Bill as antecedent in (38). However,
this reading seems unavailable in (38). If we substitute his for the in (38),
14 It is possible that different speakers weigh these options differently. Nina Kazanina (personal communication) has found many speakers for whom sentences like (37) with John as
antecedent become very odd when Mary is encountered. This suggests that these speakers
value transparency more than reference resolution. It goes without saying that the proposal
above is not a fully worked-out account and that much more detailed work needs to be done to
flesh it out. For some interesting work extending this line of reasoning, see Snarska (2009).
15 See Hornstein and Kiguchi (2003) and Kiguchi (2004) for details and evidence that the empty
category in (38) is an OC PRO and not a pro.

6.5 Conclusion

209

Mary is doing the washing behind Bills ears! Note, however, that an overt
pronoun can have Bill as antecedent:
(40)

Himi having to wash behind the ears made Mary angry at Billi

The reason for acceptability of (40) under the intended reading is that the
pronoun is grammatically permitted in this position and the parser does nothing
more than put what it hears where it hears it. Thus, what cannot occur here,
because of parsing preferences, is a null pronoun, namely, pro.
6.5

Conclusion

Hornstein (1999, 2001, 2003, 2007) has proposed that, as opposed to OC PRO,
which is analyzed as an A-trace, NOC PRO is essentially a null pronoun (pro).
The interpretation of an NOC PRO then reduces to figuring out the distribution
of pro. Hornstein has argued that its distribution is to a large extent determined
by economy considerations: assuming that movement is more economical than
pronominalization, the resort to pro (i.e., NOC) will be sanctioned only when
movement (i.e., OC) fails. In this chapter, we have seen that the assumption that
movement is more economical than pronominalization is, however, insufficient
to block some unacceptable instances of NOC whose movement counterpart is
not licit.
Following Boeckx and Hornstein (2007), we have argued here that the distribution of pro is a dual function of the grammar and the parser. If acceptability reflects both generability and parsability, then being unparsable may
provide a reason for the unexpected unacceptability of instances of NOC where
OC/movement is not an option. We have relied on the assumption, common in
the parsing literature, that parsers use the same sorts of principles and target
the same sorts of entities as grammars do, i.e., they are transparent to grammars. We have also assumed that parsers like to resolve the interpretation of
empty categories very quickly. In combination, these two assumptions provide
the beginnings of an account of NOC by predicting where and when pro is
available.

Some notes on semantic


approaches to control

7.1

Introduction

Much of this book has been devoted to a defense of a specific syntactic approach
to (obligatory) control. We have provided many conceptual and empirical arguments in favor of a movement-based approach and against the major alternative
syntactic treatments reviewed in Chapter 2. In this chapter, we would like to
consider the major non-syntactic approaches to control that can be found in the
literature and argue that they are inadequate on various grounds. The approaches
we will focus on seek to reduce control to selection, or invoke a rich inventory
of semantic types or conceptual structures that bypass syntax. Many of the arguments we will produce against such approaches are independent of our favorite
syntactic analysis and can be formulated in various frameworks. However, we
think that it is when we contrast non-syntactic approaches to control with a
movement-based account that the former more clearly reveal their explanatory
weaknesses.
The chapter is organized as follows. Section 7.2 discusses some general
problems with selectional approaches to control. Section 7.3 focuses on Culicover and Jackendoffs simpler-syntax approach. Finally, a brief conclusion
is presented in section 7.4.

7.2

General problems with selectional approaches to


obligatory control

There are several critical features of the interpretation of OC PRO. One of the
most obvious is that it requires a local antecedent. Typically, the antecedent is
an argument of the embedding predicate (the subject for subject control, the
object for object control). The locality requirement is one of the key features of
control configurations and must be accommodated. One initially plausible way
of capturing this locality effect focuses on the observation that the interpretation
of PRO, in particular the identification of its antecedent, is determined in
210

7.2 General problems with selectional approaches

211

some way by the embedding predicate. One linguistically reasonable way of


implementing this observation is to treat antecedent identification as a species
of selection restrictions that the matrix predicate imposes on its embedded
complement clause. The virtue of so proceeding lies in the possibility of tracing
the locality of antecedent selection in control clauses to the very tight locality
that characterizes selection more generally (as everyone knows, selection in
natural languages is confined to very local domains).
To a greater or lesser extent, this is a general intuition that underlies both
purely semantic and mixed semanticsyntactic approaches to control.1 Rather
than discussing specific technical implementations of this idea, here we would
like to highlight a couple of problems that seem to be common to all selectionbased approaches. The first one regards what is being selected. As discussed
in section 6.2, one cannot simply say that a given predicate selects for an OC
structure, for the same structural configuration may allow both OC and NOC,
as illustrated in (1) below. In other words, it is not structures but relations that
are OC or NOC (see section 6.2). In the case of (1), for instance, the relation
between ec and Mary is one of OC (see e.g., Kiguchi 2004; Hornstein and
Kiguchi 2003), whereas the one between ec and John is one of NOC (see e.g.,
Hornstein 2001; Boeckx and Hornstein 2007).
(1) a.
b.

John said that [[eci washing herself] delighted Maryi ]


Johnk said that [[eck washing himself] delighted Mary]

One selection approach that does not appear to face this problem involves
treating control infinitives as properties, i.e., VPs, rather than clausal complements (see e.g., Chierchia 1984). If control complements are properties, they
can be directly selected by the control predicate and need not involve an empty
category such as PRO. Under this view, the semantic identification of the concealed embedded subject is determined by entailment relations triggered by
the meaning of the control predicate. However, as Wurmbrand (2001) shows in
detail for German, this proposal can capture at best a subset of control structures, those that can be analyzed as involving just a VP layer. Other types of
obligatory control infinitivals in German show evidence of a full-blown clausal
structure, which brings back the question of how to identify the content of their
OC PRO subjects.2
1 See e.g., Chierchia (1984), Landau (2000), Rooryck (2001, 2007), Wurmbrand (2001), Culicover
and Jackendoff (2005).
2 See Wurmbrand (2001) for relevant data and arguments for the two types of OC infinitivals in
German.

212

Some notes on semantic approaches to control

In previous chapters we in fact discussed three kinds of data that argue that
control configurations are indeed syntactically clausal/propositional and do
have embedded subjects. The first case involves finite control into indicatives
in Brazilian Portuguese, as illustrated in (2) below, where the embedded clause
displays the same clausal material that is present in its non-control counterpart
with an overt subject (see section 2.5.2.2). The second case involves backwardcontrol configurations, where the controller is pronounced in the embedded
clause, as illustrated in (3) (see section 4.5.3.3), something that should be
impossible if control complements were VPs. Finally, the third case involves
copy-control sentences such as (4), where the embedded subject is realized
as a copy of the controller (see section 4.5.4). In effect, backward- and copycontrol constructions wear their clausal structure on their phonological sleeves.
On the assumption that control involves the same grammatical relation across
languages, the existence of backward-control and copy-reflexive structures
indicates that the controller in OC structures has moved from an embedded
clausal complement.
(2)

Brazilian Portuguese:
[[O Joao] disse que [o pai
d[o Pedro]] acha que ec vai
The Joao said that the father of-the Pedro thinks that
goes
ser promovido]
be promoted
Joaoi said that [Pedroj s father]k thinks that hek/ i/ j/ l is going to be
promoted

(3)

Tsez (Polinsky and Potsdam 2002):


bisra]
yoqsi]
[1/2 [kidba1 ziya
girl.ERG cow.ABS feed.INF began
The girl began to feed the cow

(4)

San Lucas Quiavin Zapotec (Lee 2003):


R-c`aa` az Gyeeihlly g-auh Gyeeihlly bxaady
HAB.want Mike
IRR.eat Mike
grasshopper
Mike wants to eat grasshopper

If establishing an OC relation cannot be obtained through direct selection, the


other option is to attempt to enforce the desired relation by some sort of indirect
selection.3 Consider for instance an object control construction such as (5).
3 See, for instance, Wurmbrand (2001: 250) on obligatory control involving infinitivals larger
than VP in German: Assuming that obligatory control is determined lexically/semantically, a
syntactic subject and the application of (syntactic) control mechanisms is in a sense vacuous
in obligatory control constructions, since the antecedent of the infinitival subject is already
pre-specified as part of the meaning of an obligatory control predicate. We claim that it is exactly

7.2 General problems with selectional approaches


(5)

213

[John [VP persuaded Mary [CP C [TP PRO to leave]]]]

Given that head-to-head selection is a very local process, persuade can select
C, but no other head further down. However, given that C selects T, it seems
plausible that persuade indirectly imposes restrictions on the embedded T in
virtue of selecting C. One can then attempt to stretch this reasoning and assume
that persuade could also impose restrictions on the element occupying the
embedded [Spec, TP]. If these chains of indirect-selection relations could be
licensed, there should in principle be room for accommodating the fact that in
(5) the subject of the embedded clause must be controlled by the matrix object.
Though not implausible, this kind of transitivity of selection must be
used sparingly for, if not restricted, it voids the attractive locality feature
of a selection-based account. For example, just as C selects T, T selects V.
Progressive-present tense, for instance, comports badly with stative predicates:

John is knowing/understanding/recognizing the problem. Nonetheless, so


far as we know, T does not impose selection restrictions on arguments of the
predicate, e.g., requiring that the subject be animate or that the object have
some specified thematic role or be some kind of DP (a reflexive, for instance).
But, as soon as we resort to transitivity of selection for control, it is not clear
how to prevent it from working in unwanted cases. For example, what prevents
a matrix verb from imposing restrictions on the argument of a verb embedded
two clauses down if transitivity of selection is assumed? Generalized in this
way, selection is no longer local and thus is not suited to explain the locality of
antecedent selection in control clauses. So, at the very least, a selection-based
account of control needs to specify exactly which heads interact, how they
do so and what information can get imparted. We do not see how this can be
achieved in a non-stipulative fashion.
Things are actually much worse. Assuming that a technical way out of the
transitivity problem may be found, more problems surface. One of the core
properties of OC PRO is that it needs an antecedent. Why? This cannot be a
matter of selection. It must be due to some feature of OC PRO. What feature?
On the MTC the fact that OC PRO requires an antecedent follows from OC PRO
being a residue of movement and one cannot find a residue of movement without
something having moved. But on a non-movement account, this requirement
must be an intrinsic property of OC PRO. What intrinsic property? One could
say it is [+anaphoric] and this is what requires that it have an antecedent.
this redundancy that licenses (but does not necessitate) the omission of a syntactic subject in
obligatory control constructions.

214

Some notes on semantic approaches to control

However, this is not enough. One must explain why it must be [+anaphoric] in
OC environments. Why is there no analogue of OC PRO without this feature?
Tracing the requirement that OC PRO have an antecedent to a [+anaphoric]
specification only tracks the observed fact. To explain what we find requires
showing why the analogue of OC PRO without the [+anaphoric] feature does
not exist in OC environments. Anything short of this does little more than
redescribe the facts, as the feature on OC PRO that forces the presence of an
antecedent boils down to a diacritic.
Observe that this does not imply that such an approach to control is incorrect.
But it implicitly denies that there is anything interesting to be said about the
properties of control configurations beyond specifying that what we find is due
to the idiosyncratic lexical properties of OC PRO and the special selectional/
semantic features (very broadly understood) of the embedding predicate. Perhaps. However, it is clear that this is not so much a theory of control as the claim
that control has no theory. Methodologically, we should be dragged kicking
and screaming to this rather nihilistic conclusion.
Attempts to eliminate the diacritic smell of selectional approaches by couching the interpretation of OC PRO on other semantic grounds have not been
successful either. Take, for instance, Roorycks (2007) approach, under which
the sentence in (6a) is analyzed as in (6b) and (6c) (Rooryck 2007: 287; Tr
stands for transition, a cover term for accomplishments and achievements):
(6) a.
b.
c.

d.

Kim forced Sue to leave


Subevent structure: [Tr e1 act (Kim, (Sue, leave)) {en+1 } leave (Sue)]Tr
Syntactic structure: [V force]
( . . . ) [V leave]]
 [CP (C-)T





{en+1 } {Tunrealized }
Plain English: At the event time e1 , Kim undertakes action with
respect to Sues leaving, resulting in a subevent at an undetermined
moment after e1 , at which Sue leaves.

In Roorycks own words (p. 287), infinitival [unrealized] (C-)T has anaphoric
phi-features, which do the job of PRO. Identification of [unrealized] (C-)T
with the [unrealized] subevent entails identification of (C-)T anaphoric phifeatures with the phi-features of all and only those argument(s) contained
in the [unrealized] subevent. Control thus rides piggyback on the temporal
identification of the infinitive by the matrix verb. Putting aside the conceptual
issue of why temporal identification should provide the basis for argument
identification, such an approach cannot be extended to finite-control sentences
such as (2) in Brazilian Portuguese. The tense of the indicative complement

7.2 General problems with selectional approaches

215

clause is completely independent from the matrix clause, as illustrated by (7),


and yet OC obtains as in cases of non-finite complements (see sections 2.5.2.2
and 4.4).4
(7)
a.

Brazilian Portuguese:
Ontem
[o Joao]i disse que eci/ k esta estudando muito nos
Yesterday the Joao said that
is studying much in-the
u ltimos dias
last
days
Yesterday John said that he has been studying a lot lately

b.

Ontem
[o Joao]i disse que eci/ k vai viajar amanha
Yesterday the Joao said that
goes travel tomorrow
Yesterday John said that hes going to travel tomorrow

Ontem
[o Joao]i disse que eci/ k tinha viajado na
Yesterday the Joao said that
had traveled in-the
semana passada
week past
Yesterday John said that he had traveled last week

Let us finally turn to we think the most lethal problem for selection-based
accounts. So far, we have proceeded on the premise that it is prima facie reasonable to codify antecedents in control configurations in terms of selection. One
prominent property of selection is that it holds for complements, not adjuncts.
The distribution of the latter is quite free, at least for a large class of adjuncts.
Thus, one expectation of a selection-based account of control interpretation
is that control into adjuncts should have properties quite different from control into complements. This, however, is incorrect. As we have discussed in
section 4.5.1, adjunct control shows all the characteristics of complement control, as illustrated in (8).
(8) a.
b.

c.

Adjunct-control PRO requires a local c-commanding antecedent:


Johni said [that [Maryk s brother]m left [after PROm/ i/ k/ w eating a bagel]]
Adjunct-control PRO only licenses sloppy readings under ellipsis:
John left before PRO singing and Bill did too
and Billi left before hei / John sang
Adjunct-control PRO can only have a bound interpretation when controlled
by only-DPs:
Only Churchill left after PRO giving the speech
[Nobody else]i left after hei / Churchill gave the speech

4 As we saw in section 2.5.1, Wurmbrand (2005) shows that not all control complements show
the same kinds of temporal dependencies, so it is not clear that we could generalize the above
approach.

216
d.

Some notes on semantic approaches to control


In the appropriate type of adjuncts (e.g., purposives), adjunct-control PRO
obligatorily requires a de se interpretation:
The unfortunate wrote a petition (in order) PRO to get a medal
[The unfortunate]i wrote a petition so that [he himself]i would get a medal

That adjunct control shows all the diagnostic properties of controlled PRO is
somewhat unexpected if these properties are the result of selection restrictions
imposed by a higher predicate on its complement. The parallel between adjunct
and complement control suggests that such accounts are on the wrong track.
Crucially, under a movement approach of the sort we have advocated, control
into adjuncts falls out from the same mechanism as control into complements
(see section 4.5.1).5
Let us now consider Culicover and Jackendoffs simpler-syntax approach.
7.3

Simpler syntax

Culicover and Jackendoff (2001, 2005) propose an approach to control that


aims to explain the interpretive properties of control structures directly in
terms of the lexical meanings of their constituent parts.6 This lexical meaningbased perspective relies on Jackendoffs (1983, 1990) framework of conceptual
semantics, which assumes a very rich, generative apparatus outside narrow
syntax.
C&J make three principal claims regarding control. First, the central problem
in control consists in identifying the factors that determine possible controllers
in any given circumstance (2005: 416) (i.e., determining the antecedent of
PRO).7 Second, controller selection is largely a function of the lexical
semantics of the predicate that selects the infinitival or gerundive complement
(p. 416), where the requisite aspects of meaning are explicitly represented
in the predicates conceptual structure. And third, the control relation is not
simply a diacritic feature of a given verb or class of verbs but is an organic
part of their meaning (p. 420). In other words, the control properties of
heads . . . follow insofar as possible from their meanings, couched in terms of
conceptual structure (p. 445, footnote 19). The following quote well illustrates
5 See section 7.3.2.1 below for additional problems to semantic approaches to control brought up
by the interaction of adjunct control and wh-movement.
6 As Culicover and Jackendoffs approach to control is more fully developed in their 2005 book,
we will base our critique on that work (henceforth C&J).
7 C&J avoid using the PRO-notation in discussing control, though they note (p. 416, footnote 1)
that their arguments are largely neutral concerning PRO. As we find the exposition is streamlined if we include PRO, we do so in what follows.

7.3 Simpler syntax

217

C&Js core conception of what control is: Our own intuition . . . is that the
control behavior of persuade and promise is an essential part of their meanings;
there could not be a verb that meant the same thing as persuade but had the
control behavior of promise (p. 420).
As C&J develop this lexical-semantic perspective to control, they offer several arguments against the MTC. For this reason, we will begin our discussion
of C&Js treatment of control by defusing the critical points they make against
the MTC. Then we turn a critical eye towards C&Js own proposals. Ultimately,
we argue that C&Js approach fails in its explanatory ambitions and reduces to
little more than a list of cases.
7.3.1
Some putative problems for the movement theory of control
C&J offer three major kinds of objections to syntactic approaches to control.
Let us consider them in turn.
7.3.1.1 Control by adjectival expressions
One of the objections raised by C&J involves sentences such as (9) below,
which is taken to show that OC PRO is licensed despite the absence of an
appropriate antecedent in the syntactic structure. The reasoning is supposed to
go as follows.8 PRO in (9) is interpreted as America though it does not appear
in the structure. The most similar potential antecedent is American. However,
it cannot be the antecedent of PRO on the assumption that adjectives cannot
antecede PRO.
(9)

An American attempt [PRO to dominate the Middle East]

But why assume that American in (9) cannot be a controller? It appears to


be able to corefer with a pronoun and even bind a reflexive, as illustrated in
(10) below. As such, it might plausibly be able to control a PRO.
(10) a.
b.

Every American1 military attempt at pacification in Iraq was a failure. It1


was finally forced to approach the UN
Every American presentation of itself in international venues is appalling

Assuming that (9) indeed involves OC, the MTC should analyze it along
the lines of (11), where American gets the external -role of dominate and
8 C&J do not actually spell out the problem that (9) poses for syntactic theories of control. They
simply cite the facts and conclude that they speak for themselves. We hope that we have thrust
the right words into their mouths.

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Some notes on semantic approaches to control

then moves up to the thematic domain of attempt and receives its external
-role.
(11)

[DP an [NP American attempt [CP C [TP American PRO to [vP American
dominate the Middle East]]]]]

Is the movement from a nominal to an adjectival position in (11) illicit? It is


not actually very clear what is wrong with this sort of derivation. For whatever
reason, adjectives like American seem to be able to bind nominal anaphors
(cf. [10b]). Such binding normally requires categorical identity, but this seems
not to hold in these cases. If not, there is no obvious reason why the same
categorical laxity should not extend to movement.
Moreover, it is likely that a parallel assumption would have to be made were
one to provide an account of (9) in semantic terms. Such an account would have
to allow the adjective American to saturate the attempter -role in the mapping
between conceptual structure and syntax despite the fact that adjectives do not
typically do this. In other words, if what American is doing in (9) is not typical
of adjectives, then the interrelation between conceptual structure and syntax
will have to reflect this exceptional behavior by expressly permitting it. Unless
it can be demonstrated that the quirky behavior of adjectives like American
is actually smooth and just what one should expect when viewed from C&Js
perspective, it is not clear why cases like (9) are more problematic for syntactic
theories than for semantics-based accounts.
In sum, as far as we can tell, as it stands, the observation that sentences like
(9) involve control does not in itself argue against syntactic accounts or for
semantic ones.
7.3.1.2 (Apparent) lack of antecedent for PRO
Another challenge that C&J pose to the MTC involves sentences such as (12)
below. The alleged problem with (12) is that there is no controller at all in
the overt syntax (ignoring the parenthetical material), but the sentences are
understood as the attempter being the leaver and the person ordered leaving,
i.e., it is Fred when the PP is overt.
(12) a.
b.

Any such attempt (by Fred) [PRO to leave] will be punished


Yesterdays orders (to Fred) [PRO to leave] have been cancelled

C&J provide a possible way out for the syntactically inclined. They note
(without much enthusiasm) that [o]ne could stipulate a phantom position in
the specifier that can never be realized by anything but a null NP; alternatively
one could stipulate a null by-phrase in [12a] and a null to-phrase in [12b]

7.3 Simpler syntax

219

(2005: 418). C&J claim that this move would be problematic as it would be
motivated on theory-internal grounds and hence with no independent syntactic
motivation. Why theory-internal grounds in general are not motivation enough
is unclear to us. We can see why C&Js global theoretical predilections for a
very spare syntax would find these motivations weak. However, as we do
not share their aesthetic, it is not clear why we should not adopt their apposite
proposal. If the theory that provides the requisite internal grounds is desirable
independently (which we think the MTC is), then argument is needed not
to follow the theorys promptings. This places the burden of proof on C&J
to demonstrate that such an extension fails empirically for, otherwise, the
route motivated on theory-internal grounds is methodologically preferred, pace
C&J.
Note, incidentally, that, given the discussion of pro in Chapter 6, there is
nothing untoward about having a null pronoun move from within the embedded
clause of (12a) and (12b) to the thematic domain of attempt and orders.
Deverbal nouns arguably have thematic requirements analogous to those of
their verbal counterparts and project into the syntax in a well-behaved UTAHlike manner (see Baker 1997). Thus, after a pro moves to the thematic domain
of attempt and orders in (12), it receives the relevant -role and can be
licensed by the inherent case associated with nominals (see Chomsky 1986b).9
C&J note (2005: 418) two further cases where there is no conceivable source
for the controller:
(13) a.
b.

How about PRO taking a swim together?


PRO undressing myself/ourselves/yourself in public may annoy Bill

Here C&J suggest that only at pain of adopting Rosss (1970) theory of performative deletion could these facts be accounted for in a syntactic theory of
control like the MTC.
This is incorrect. Independent of Rosss proposal,10 the sentences in (13) are
not cases of OC but of NOC. As such, they are not the residues of A-movement,
but are instances of pro. In fact, these are cases of what C&J call free control
and we call non-obligatory control. Depending on the conversational context,
these PROs can be anaphoric to anything: Bill and Martha are filthy from all
the work in the garden. Can you think of any way they can clean up? How
about washing each other in the outdoor shower? Consequently, this is not
9 As argued by Hornstein, Martins, and Nunes (2008), Nunes (2008b), and Kato and Nunes
(2009), inherent case is not overtly realized if its bearer is a phonologically empty category.
10 Rosss earlier analysis has been revived recently in Etxepare (1998) and Nissenbaum (2000),
among others.

220

Some notes on semantic approaches to control

a particular problem for the MTC or any other syntactic account unafraid of
null elements and not wedded to the specific theoretical assumptions in C&Js
simpler syntax.
7.3.1.3 Apparent syntaxsemantics mismatches
C&J advance a third kind of argument against syntactic accounts of control.
They claim (2005: 419) that the choice of controller can be doubly dissociated
from syntactic configuration, that is, in some cases the same syntactic configuration can be associated with different controllers and in other cases the
controller can appear in different syntactic configurations, while preserving
meaning. According to them, (14) and (15) illustrate cases of same structure but different controllers and (16), cases of different structures but same
controller.
(14) a.
b.

Johni persuaded Sarahj [PROj/ i to dance]


Johni promised Sarahj [PROi/ j to dance]

(15) a.
b.

Johni talked about [PROi/gen dancing with Jeff]


Johni refrained from [PROi/ gen dancing with Jeff]

(16) a.
b.
c.
d.

Bill ordered Fredi [PROi to leave immediately]


Fredi s order from Bill [PROi to leave immediately]
The order from Bill to Fredi [PROi to leave immediately]
Fredi received Bills order [PROi to leave immediately]

In (14) PRO is controlled by Sarah with persuade but by John with


promise. In turn, (15a) contrasts with (15b) in that the former allows an
impersonal (gen) reading with PRO, while the latter does not. As regards (16),
Fred is the antecedent for PRO despite the blatant syntactic differences
among the examples. C&J (p. 419) asseverate that only the dogma that control
is syntactic could motivate a syntactic distinction in these cases on which to
rest an explanation for the witnessed differences. For C&J, intuition suggests
that the differences are a consequence of what the verbs mean (p. 419).
This may be correct, but we see precious little beyond confident assertion
here. First of all, a false dichotomy has been drawn here between lexical meaning and syntactic structure. Since the earliest days of generative grammar it
has been recognized that these two notions are closely related. A predicates
thematic-argument structure and how this structure is syntactically realized are
closely connected. As such, it is reasonable to suppose that if predicates have
different argument structures they also have different syntactic structures. Using
such an assumption based on Bakers (1997) UTAH, we argued in section 5.5.1
that, contrary to surface appearances, Sarah in (14) is a direct object when

7.3 Simpler syntax

221

the complement of persuade, but the object of a null preposition (as in dativeshifted structures) when associated with promise. This difference accounts
for why, in the latter case, John is a possible controller while, in the former,
it is not. If this is correct, then it suggests that considerable care must be taken
when diagnosing underlying syntactic structure from apparent surface form.
Generative grammarians have regularly noted that surface form can be misleading. We believe that the persuade/promise contrast is a good illustration
of this, pace C&Js assumption that the syntax of persuade and promise
in (14) is the same. Of course, if it is not, as argued in section 5.5.1, their
double-dissociation argument weakens.
Consider now the contrast in (15). Example (15a), but not (15b), allows PRO
to be interpreted impersonally. C&J do not, to our knowledge, explain why this
contrast exists besides attributing it to the lexical meanings of the predicates
involved. However, it is plausible that part of the contrast revolves around the
semantics of the matrix predicates in these constructions and not specifically
with the interpretation of PRO. Why so? Chomsky (1986b) proposed the following rule of thumb: if an overt impersonal is disallowed in a certain structure,
then it is no surprise that a covert one with PRO is barred as well. In the case
of talk about vs. refrain from it is very plausible that part of the relevant
difference reflects the meanings of these predicates, as attested by the examples
in (17).
(17) a.
b.

John talked about ones/her dancing with Fred


John1 refrained from ones/ her/his1 /PRO1 dancing with Fred

Example (17b) shows that refrain from requires that the subject of its
gerundive complement be anteceded by the subject of the predicate regardless
of how the gerundive subject is expressed. Given this, one might attribute the
oddities in (17b) to a fact about the meaning of refrain from, e.g., it makes no
sense for one to refrain from anyone elses doing something.11 When identity of
reference between subjects is established (be it by binding or control), semantic
coherence obtains and the sentences are acceptable. We have no problem with
this sort of answer in this case precisely because the constraints refrain from
imposes on interpretation are insensitive to the particular syntax used to express
it. When this obtains, a lexical-semantics account seems reasonable, even when
it is unclear how to develop the account in detail. Note that, even if this account
11 To say this is not yet to explain in virtue of what this makes no sense. It is just a bald statement
saying that whatever refrain from means, it implies one can only refrain from ones own
activities.

222

Some notes on semantic approaches to control

of the semantics of refrain from is correct, it does not imply that the PRO
in (15b) is not a trace of movement.12 There is no contradiction (or even
infelicity or dogma) in assuming that the meaning of refrain from demands
certain antecedence relations and at the same time assuming that these relations
are established by certain grammatical processes in cases like (15b) (e.g.,
movement, as the MTC would propose).
To get a better bearing on when a lexical-semantics account is apposite, it is
useful to contrast refrain from with talk about. The latters meaning contrasts
with the formers in tolerating a DP in the subject of its gerundive complement
that is not controlled by its subject, as the acceptability of ones and her
in (17a) demonstrates. Thus, it cannot be that the required interpretation of
(15a) with John being antecedent of PRO follows from the meaning of talk
about in a way parallel to refrain from in (15b). In other words, the fact that
different pronouns are semantically coherent in (17a) raises the question of why
the antecedent of PRO in (15a) remains John even in cases like (18) below,
where an overt pronoun can have Mary as antecedent. Note that one cannot
simply attribute this to the meaning of talk about for, whatever its meaning is,
it is clearly compatible with having Mary as antecedent (as seen if we replace
PRO with a pronoun). But, if this is correct, then some account of this fact that
does not rely exclusively on the lexical semantics of talk about is required.
(18)

Mary1 said that John talked about her1 / PRO1 washing herself

C&J tend, in our view, to treat all cases of control as if they were like the
refrain from example above. However, in most of the cases of interest, it is
far from clear that the meaning of the predicate precludes the control relations
claimed to be impossible, at least if we test the relevant cases using alternative
syntactic realizations. Consider one more illustration of the problem, C&Js
favorite contrast involving promise vs. persuade:
(19) a.
b.

Johni promised Billk that hei/k would leave on time


Johni persuaded Billk that hei/k should leave on time

(20) a.
b.

Johni promised Billk PROi/ k to leave on time


Johni persuaded Billk PROk/ i to leave on time

12 Note that replacing his with him in (17b) renders the sentence unacceptable, as him cannot
be interpreted as anteceded by John in this configuration. If pronouns can only be used where
movement is forbidden (see Hornstein 2001, 2007, and Chapter 6 above), this suggests that
A-movement out of accusative-assigning gerunds is allowed, but A-movement out of genitiveassigning gerunds is not.

7.3 Simpler syntax

223

Example (19) shows that the embedded pronoun can be coherently anteceded
by either John or Bill. That being so, why is it that in (20a) the only possible antecedent is John while in (20b) it is Bill? Note that the embedded
predicates in all the cases of (19) and (20) are actional (using C&Js categorization). Nonetheless, in (19) the antecedent of he is not fixed while in (20)
the antecedent of PRO is. If the meaning of the matrix verb operates to fix
antecedence in (20), why does it fail to work its magic in (19)?
It would appear that more than the meaning of the embedding predicate
is relevant. At the very least, the syntactic structure involved also contributes
to the attested control properties. Syntactic theories of control, including the
MTC, have aimed to bridge the gap between what lexical semantics plausibly
supplies and what is actually observed. We have argued that PRO is a residue
of A-movement and movement to the matrix-subject position in persuadeconstructions violates minimality, which explains why John is not a potential
controller in (20b) (see section 3.4.1). Minimality does not block similar movement in (20a) as Bill is within a PP (see section 5.5.1). As the movement is
licit, John can control PRO in (20a).13 In sum, a full account of the control
properties involved here is underdetermined by the lexical semantics of the
embedding predicates, i.e., the control properties of promise and persuade
are nothing like those of refrain from.
13 One additional point. According to C&J (p. 432), Rosenbaums (1967) minimal-distance principle (MDP) should be abandoned because it fails to account for long distance control in
subject complements and for free and nearly free control in object complements (e.g. John
talked to Sarah about defending himself). Note, however, that this poses no problem at all
for the MTC. Recall from section 3.4.1 that, within the MTC, the MDP is subsumed under
minimality (a condition on movement). As such, the MDP/minimality is relevant only when
movement obtains in cases of OC, but not in cases of NOC. The cases that C&J mention are
cases of NOC and, as such, they should not show MDP/minimality effects, which is indeed
correct.
In fact, C&Js attitude towards MDP is somewhat difficult to discern. In the body of their
control chapter, they repeatedly claim that the MDP is empirically inadequate (see pp. 432, 434,
440). However, in a curious footnote (p. 435, footnote 10) they concede that [i]t is true . . . that
there is a strong bias toward interpreting NV V NP to VP as object control, and this may be a
default constructional meaning that makes it hard for some speakers (especially young ones,
as shown by C. Chomsky [1969]) to get subject control readings. This sounds very much like
Rosenbaums original proposal concerning the MDP, which was understood as a markedness
condition, hence defeasible given sufficient data. Rosenbaum argued that promise was not a
counter-example to the MDP despite its being a subject-control predicate, precisely because of
its odd acquisition profile. Rosenbaum cited C. Chomskys work on the acquisition of promise
and noted that its late mastery is just what we would expect if the MDP were a markedness
condition on determining controllers. Thus, it appears to us that, despite invidious remarks to
the contrary, C&J adopt a version of the MDP which they interpret in markedness terms and
which can be overridden by predicate and complement semantics.

224

Some notes on semantic approaches to control

Consider now the observation that in (16), repeated below in (21), different
syntactic structures result in identical control configurations. This, in itself, is
not particularly surprising given the assumption that different syntactic configurations can arise from the same basic underlying form. The different syntactic
configurations in (22), for example, are not a problem for any syntactic theory
of control (including the MTC) given the standard assumption that actives and
passives are transformationally related.
(21) a.
b.
c.
d.

Bill ordered Fredi [PROi to leave immediately]


Fredi s order from Bill [PROi to leave immediately]
The order from Bill to Fredi [PROi to leave immediately]
Fredi received Bills order [PROi to leave immediately]

(22) a.
b.

John ordered Bill PRO to leave


Bill was ordered (by John) PRO to leave

Thus, the import of C&Js point regarding the examples in (21) relies on
two assumptions: (i) that the same control relations are realized in all these
configurations; and (ii) that these different configurations are not syntactically
related. Were the sentences in (21) syntactically related, they would be no
more problematic than the sentences in (22). So the relevant questions are:
(i) whether the interpretive properties of verbs and their deverbal nominalizations are indeed identical; and (ii) whether it is reasonable to suppose that they
share an underlying form. Let us consider these questions in turn.
Do verbs and their nominalized counterparts have the same interpretive properties? Not completely. Though the sentences in (21) all have interpretations in
which PRO is controlled by the individual who has been ordered, this need not
be identical to the recipient of an order. Thus, for example, (23a) and (23b) are
acceptable while (23c) is not.
(23) a.

Mary saw the order from Bill to Fred [PRO to ready ourselves/oneself/
herself for departure]
b. Bills order to Fred [PRO to ready ourselves for departure]
c. Bill ordered Fred [PRO to ready ourselves for departure]

In (23a) and (23b) Fred can be interpreted as the person registering the
order though not necessarily ordered himself. With this understanding of the
to-PP, one can interpret PRO rather freely, depending on the context. Such a
reading is not available in (23c). Thus, the to-PP inside a nominal is not an
infallible guide to the thematic role of its complement or, to put it in different
words, it does not seem to be the case that in (21) we necessarily have a single
interpretation associated with different syntactic forms, as implied by C&J.

7.3 Simpler syntax

225

But putting such cases aside, there is a reading of (21bd) in which Fred
is understood as having been ordered and, under this reading, it controls PRO
in the nominal cases, just as in the verbal counterpart in (21a), which indicates
that control within nominals strongly parallels what we find in their verbal
counterparts. This brings us to our second question: do verbs and their deverbal
nominalizations share a common underlying syntactic form? C&J presume that
they do not, although they do assume that they share an underlying conceptual
structure. However, it is not clear, at least to us, that there are compelling arguments against verbs and their nominalizations sharing a common underlying
syntactic form. This is certainly not an exotic assumption and it has been fairly
common since the earliest days of generative grammar.14 C&J present no arguments against it and so we see no reason as yet to reject it. We also accept their
implicit argument that the MTC is committed to the claim that verbs and their
deverbal nominalizations are syntactically related.15 If control is due to movement in the former then it is also due to movement in the latter (see section 5.3).
However, given the state of flux concerning the details of the relation, we have
nothing concrete to propose about the structure of verbs and nouns. Suffice
it to say that we know of no reason why movement could not operate within
either domain with the same interpretive effects if we assume that the way
thematic information projects within the verbal and nominal domains is guided
in the same way (e.g., via UTAH). If this is correct, although C&J are right
that one should strive for a unified account of control with nominal and verbal
predicates, their conclusion that this necessarily requires computing control
non-syntactically at the level of conceptual structure does not follow. This
conclusion requires arguing that verbs and their deverbal nominals are not syntactically related and we see no reason to accept this assumption at this point.16
In sum, the main argument C&J have against syntactic accounts of control
in general and the MTC in particular is that the requisite syntactic structure

14 This was the assumption in Lees (1960). Chomsky (1970) argued against Leess transformational analysis but not against the view that verbs and nouns could have parallel underlying
representations. This is certainly implicit in Remarks where it is assumed that the object
of destruction and destroy are semantically and syntactically analogous. The same basic
assumption carries over to recent distributed-morphology analyses. Here categorical identity
is a rather surfacy property. If this is so, then nothing prevents treating nouns and verbs as
essentially derived from a common structure that is categorically neutral.
15 Actually, this assumes that the semantic properties of nominals are determined directly from
the structure of the nominal and not via some relation to its corresponding sentence. We leave
this possibility aside for now.
16 In fact, to our knowledge most generative grammarians assume that there is a syntactic relation
between verbs and their deverbal counterparts.

226

Some notes on semantic approaches to control

is unavailable. The strongest argument revolves around the parallel properties


of nouns and verbs as regards control. For the MTC to capture these parallels
in terms of movement requires tolerating a more abstract syntax than C&J
seem comfortable with, though not one that is particularly exotic given current
assumptions. As such, their arguments against syntactic approaches like the
MTC rest on premises that syntactic-centric theories have no problem rejecting
and, consequently, most of their objections simply beg most of the relevant
questions.
7.3.2
Challenges for simpler syntax
Let us now consider some problems for the approach based on conceptual
structure advocated by C&J.
7.3.2.1 Adjunct control
As discussed in section 7.2, adjunct control is quite problematic for semantic
approaches to control and the simpler-syntax approach is not exceptional
in this regard. In fact, C&J concede that [o]ne point in control theory where
some syntactic constraint seems unavoidable is in the control of adjuncts
(2005: 425). However, we believe that C&J fail to fully appreciate how severe
a challenge adjunct control is to their entire enterprise.
As discussed in section 4.5.1 and reviewed in section 7.2, adjunct control
shows all of the typical marks of complement control. In an approach like
simpler syntax, control is fundamentally a fact about the lexical semantics
of the predicate that selects the infinitival or gerundive complement (p. 416).
But, in adjunct-control configurations, there is no special property in the lexical
semantics of the embedding predicate that could determine control, yet the very
same properties associated with complement control arise. So why should this
be if obligatory control is primarily a lexical-semantic fact about embedding
predicates?
Given that adjunct control exhibits all the diagnostic properties of complement control but without the specific lexical predicates whose semantics is
supposed to ground these properties, it is very unclear how C&J could integrate
adjunct control into their basic story. Stipulating a very specific rule to the
effect that, when there is an adjunct in need of a controller, the local syntactic
subject must function as the unique controller will not have any explanatory
heft. In fact, it will be a backward step when compared to earlier accounts that
pursued a conceptually more appealing route subsuming adjunct-control cases
to the MDP.

7.3 Simpler syntax

227

As noted in section 4.5.1, the MTC accommodates adjunct control via sideward movement, a grammatical option made available once D-structure is
dispensed with. The distinctive properties of these constructions can be largely
derived given recent minimalist assumptions, as we have shown. This allows
the MTC to give a unified account to both complement and adjunct control.
Thus, the fact that they show identical properties is no surprise, as it would be
on a mixed theory of the kind mooted in simpler syntax.17
In fact, things are even worse than this for C&Js analysis. Recent work by
Nunes (2008c) on adjunct control in Brazilian and European Portuguese shows
that independent syntactic properties may yield subject or object control in
adjunct-control configurations. More specifically, he shows that in Brazilian
and European Portuguese the subject of infinitival adjunct clauses may be
controlled by the matrix subject or the matrix object, depending on whether or
not the matrix object undergoes wh-movement, as illustrated in (24) below.18
Example (24b) has a wh-in situ in the matrix clause and the result is subject
control, as in (24a), with no wh-element involved. By contrast, (24c) has whmovement and now both subject and object control are possible.
17 C&J claim that even in the case of adjunct control some nonsyntactic influence is necessary
(p. 426). They note that there can be control of adjuncts by implicit arguments within nominals
in examples such as (i) below and conclude that this tells against syntactic approaches. However,
this position again assumes that the syntax cannot have phonetically null arguments, a claim
that we have argued is contentious.
(i)

Such a brutal interrogation of the suspect without PRO considering the legal
repercussions could lead to disaster

C&J (p. 147) also discuss cases such as (ii) below, which illustrate the so-called event control
originally discussed by Williams (1985).
(ii) a. The ship sinks (in order) PRO to further the plot
b. The ship was sunk (in order) PRO to collect the insurance
C&J analyze these as involving control by an implicit agent. However, whether this is so is
quite unclear. Example (iia) can be seen as a typical case of event control with the paraphrase
The ship sinks in order for its sinking to further the plot. PRO is not controlled by an implicit
agent but by the event. Curiously, this interpretation is not available in other cases of adjunct
control: The ship sinks before/after furthering the plot. Example (iib) is more unusual as it
seems that the implicit agents of the sinking are the collectors. However, even here there must be
something else going on. For example, these cases of control do not license anaphors, even with
the by-phrase present: The ship was sunk (by John) to make himself famous. It is unclear
why not, if indeed it is the implicit agent that is doing the controlling. The unacceptability
follows if even here we have some kind of event control.
18 For original discussion of the finite counterparts of (24) in Brazilian Portuguese, see Modesto
(2000), Rodrigues (2004), and Nunes (2008c).

228

Some notes on semantic approaches to control

(24)

European and Brazilian Portuguese (Nunes 2008c):


O Joaoi cumprimentou a Mariak depois de PROi/ k entrar
The Joao greeted
the Maria after of
enter

a.

na
sala
in-the room
Joao greeted Maria after entering the room
b.

O Joaoi cumprimentou quemk depois de PROi/ k entrar na


sala?
The Joao greeted
who after of
enter in-the room
Who did Joao greet after entering the room?

c.

Quemk e que o Joaoi cumprimentou ti depois de PROi/k entrar


Who is that the Joao greeted
after of
enter
na
sala?
in-the room
Whoi did Joaok greet after hei/k entered the room?

Assuming with Boskovics (2007) that the strong feature that triggers successive cyclic movement is hosted by the moving element, Nunes (2008c) proposes
that in languages like Brazilian and European Portuguese, with optional whmovement, this feature is lexically optional on wh-elements. Moreover, the
presence of this feature in the derivation has consequences for economy computations regarding merge-over-move. Recall that subject control over object
control is enforced in adjunct control due to merge being more economical than
move (see Hornstein 2001 and section 4.5.1.1 above). In the case of (24a), for
instance, if o Joao is in the subject position of the adjunct clause, it cannot
undergo sideward movement to the complement of the matrix verb, for merger
of a Maria in this position is more economical. So, after a Maria is merged,
o Joao can only move to the matrix [Spec, vP], yielding subject control.
Bearing this in mind, let us now consider the contrast between (24b) and
(24c) regarding object control. Nunes argues that they involve the derivations
sketched in (25a) and (25b) respectively.
(25) a.

O Joao [[cumprimentou [quemuF ]i ] [depois de ti entrar


The Joao greeted
who
after of enter.INF
na
sala]]
in-the room
Whoi did Joao greet after hei entered the room?

b.

[quemF ]i e que o Joao [[cumprimentou ti ] [depois de ti


Who
is that the Joao greeted
after of
entrar na
sala]]
enterINF in-the room
Whoi did Joao greet after hei entered the room?

7.3 Simpler syntax

229

The wh-element of both derivations in (25) entered the numeration specified


with a strong feature uF, which in turn requires that the wh-phrase must move
if possible. This requirement of the strong feature now overrules merge-overmove, for things are not equal anymore. If the wh-element sits in the subject
of the adjunct clause and sideward movement to the matrix-object position is
possible, such movement must take place. Now, if merge-over-move is circumvented in the presence of a strong feature, this strong feature must be checked.
Hence, (25a) is unacceptable not because movement of the wh-element from
the adjunct clause to the matrix-object position violates merge-over-move, but
because the strong feature of the wh-phrase remained unchecked. When it is
checked by moving to [Spec, CP], as in (25b), the derivation converges, yielding
an object-control reading.19
In conclusion, it is not at all obvious how C&J can incorporate adjunct
control in their system as it attempts to derive obligatory control from semantic
relations between embedding predicates and their complements. To put this
more starkly: the fact that one gets all the properties of obligatory control
in adjunct-control configurations in the absence of the relevant properties that
C&J identify as the main causal agent suggests that they have nabbed the wrong
suspect. By contrast, the MTC not only provides a unified movement account
of both complement and adjunct control, but can also account for cases where
adjunct control may be of both the subject and the object type.

7.3.2.2 The problem of the distribution of PRO


C&J characterize the empirical problem of control as essentially that of controller selection. In addition to the problems this sort of approach suffers from
(see section 7.2), C&Js treatment does not address any of the other factors
often taken to be central to control phenomena. Most conspicuously absent is
any account of the distribution of PRO.
C&Js overall approach to syntax (simpler syntax) is against using abstract
expressions like PRO (though, curiously, they have no qualms about abstract
19 The subject-control reading of (24c) is obtained from a derivation in which the wh-phrase gets
merged in the matrix-object position and o Joao moves from the adjunct clause to the matrix
[Spec, vP], as illustrated in (i) (see Nunes 2008c).
(i)

[QuemF ]i e que o Joaok [tk [cumprimentou ti ] [depois de tk entrar


Who
is that the Joao greeted
after
of
enter.INF
na
sala]]
in-the room
Whoi did Joao greet after hei entered the room?

230

Some notes on semantic approaches to control

entities in either semantics or phonology). However, whether one adopts PRO


or eschews it, one is still left with the task of explaining why controllees must
be syntactic subjects and why they so typically reside in non-finite clauses.
Note, we say syntactic subjects for we take it as given that there is no thematic
restriction on controllees. Anything that can be a syntactic subject in a clause
(either base generated or derived) is a potential controllee under the appropriate
predicate. The problem of the distribution of PRO amounts to explaining why
the control relation (most particularly OC) is generally restricted to controllee
subjects of non-finite clauses.
Consider a concrete analysis of control by C&J. According to them, a lexical
predicates control obligations are embedded in its conceptual structure as an
instruction that one of its arguments antecede some argument of the embedded
complement. As C&J restrict their attention largely to actional complements,
these instructions are represented as in (26), for example.
(26)

X INTEND [ ACT]

The s in (26) indicate that X, the logical subject of INTEND, controls the
in the embedded action complement. The question of the distribution of
PRO amounts to the question of why it is that this controllee within the ACT
complement is always a syntactic subject.
Note first that there is no obvious semantic reason for why only syntactic
subjects are controlled. Even if one takes control to be a relation to an actional
property, it does not follow that the relevant open variable must be in subject
position. Of course, one can always stipulate that the second in (26) is the
subject of the embedded ACT complement, but this would be unsatisfactory
for obvious reasons.
The problem C&Js approach faces is clear: C&J stress that it is conceptual
structure (i.e., semantics), and not overt syntax, that is an appropriate level
for stating control relations (p. 419). But, as noted, it is syntactic subjects,
not conceptual subjects, that are controllees. Thus, if one restricts oneself to
conceptual-structure information alone, it is unclear how to track one of the
most basic facts about control, namely, that it is syntactic subjects that are
controlled.
7.3.2.3 Problems with C&Js decompositional approach
The final problem we would like to point out with respect to the approach
to control defended in simpler syntax is that it is essentially based on a
decompositional approach to natural-language predicates and, as such, it suffers
from the sorts of problems often noted to be endemic to such approaches;

7.3 Simpler syntax

231

namely, they are either clearly wrong or (where they are not vacuous) largely
stipulative.
The basic idea behind C&Js analysis of control consists of two steps. First,
they take control to be a semantically primitive relation inherent in the meaning
of certain basic predicates. As an illustration of what this means, consider once
again the discussion above of refrain from. It is arguable that it is part of the
basic semantics of this predicate that one cannot refrain from someone elses
doings. This is manifested in the status of sentences like John refrained from
Marys leaving early, which are not simply ungrammatical, but, one might
contend, incoherent. Evidence that this is a basic feature of the semantics of
refrain from (and not merely a feature of the control configuration) comes
from noting the semantic acceptability of John refrained from his leaving
early when John is understood as anteceding his. Thus, the effects of the
meaning of the predicate are exercised across disparate syntactic forms and
enforce the same condition: one can only refrain from acts that one commits
oneself.
The second step is to propose that all cases of obligatory control stem
from including one of these primitive-control predicates in their meaning as
represented in their conceptual structure. For example, C&J take intend to
be a primitive controller with the conceptual structure in (26). The binding
between X and the ACT is taken to be inherent within (26). Thus, the binding
that one sees in (27) results from the fact that intend (the word) is associated
with the conceptual structure of INTEND in (26).20
(27)

Johni intended PROi to leave early

However, INTEND can also be part of more complex conceptual structures.


For example, the conceptual structure of persuade also involves it as it means
cause to come to intend.21 Thus the reason that one finds control in (28) is
in virtue of the conceptual structure of persuade including INTEND, which
requires as part of its inherent meaning that the persuadee INTEND to do what
s/he is persuaded to do.
(28)

John persuaded Maryi PROi to leave early

Other primitives include OBLIGATE, SHOULDroot , and CS, a complex


stand-in for verbs of the force-dynamic class of predicates (pp. 447448). C&J
20 Henceforth, natural-language predicates (words) will be in single quotes and conceptualstructure predicates will be capitalized.
21 Actually, more likely it involves CAUSE to COME to INTEND, three conceptual-structure
predicates.

232

Some notes on semantic approaches to control

restrict their study to the class of voluntary actions, which covers those cases
where the predicate takes an ACT complement, this being a semantic class that
cuts across the finite/non-finite category (cf. their discussion on pp. 429431).
C&J propose that these cases all involve primitive predicates like those noted
above which, as part of their inherent semantics, select a unique antecedent
from the arguments of the embedding predicate to control the actor for the
ACTion that is complement to that predicate.22
From the above, it should be clear that the success of this approach to control
relies on two details: (i) finding a class of primitive predicates for which it
is plausible that their control properties are inherent in their meaning; and
(ii) showing how complex predicates include these and manifest control in
virtue of including these in their conceptual structures. We believe that C&J
succeed in neither task and as a result fail to successfully motivate this approach
to control.
Here is the source of our skepticism. First, consider the primitive-semanticcontrol predicates. The astute reader will have noticed the flurry of capital
letters in defining the primitives: INTEND, OBLIGATE, etc. Why the resort
to upper case? One reason is that these denote primitives in the conceptual
system, not natural-language predicates. As such, for example, INTEND is
not the same as intend, nor is CS a predicate of English at all. This raises
the following puzzle, which we dub Fodors problem (as Jerry Fodor is someone
who has worried about this issue consistently since the heyday of generative
semantics; see e.g. Fodor 1975): how are we to understand predicates
like INTEND, OBLIGATE, and so on? If, for example, we take INTEND
to mean intend and we take control to mean what it conventionally means
(namely, uniquely specifying the value of the syntactic-subject argument of
the ACT complement) then it is hard to see that it requires control as part of
its meaning. The reason is that intend behaves quite unlike refrain from,
which we took to be a plausible model for what might be meant by controlling
in virtue of its meaning. For example, unlike INTEND, intend imposes no
requirement on the subject of its complement, as C&J note in their discussion
of coercion (p. 452), providing the following kinds of examples:

22 It is unclear why conceptual structures require unique control. There are verbs that one could
imagine would semantically fit with more than one controller. For example, agree. If agrees
with then and agree. Nonetheless, though John and Bill agreed to help each other is
perfectly acceptable, John agreed with Bill to help each other is not. Other options come
easily to mind. Why conceptual structures specify exactly one controller is, as far as one can
see, a stipulation.

7.3 Simpler syntax


(29) a.
b.

233

Hilary intends for Ben to come to the party


Hilary intends that Ben come to the party

Note this is precisely what refrain from disallowed ( Hilary refrained from
Bob coming to the party) and this suggests that it does not follow from the very
meaning of intend that the subject of the embedded ACT complement must
be controlled by the matrix subject. Thus, INTEND cannot mean intend. But
what does it mean, then? Here is one place we do not wish to go: it means just
what intend means but it requires that the embedded subject be controlled as
with refrain from. The reason is that we have no reason to think that such a
predicate exists and even if it did, it is not clear in what sense the primitivecontrol property follows from the meaning of INTEND except by stipulation.
In other words, one problem with capitalization is that it threatens to bleach all
explanatory value from the exercise as it stipulates what it claims to explain.
C&J are aware of this problem and they seem to take a different tack. From
what we can gather, they do assume that INTEND means intend and that
all uses of intend actually involve control, though not necessarily in the
sentence at hand but in some more abstract way. C&J are not very precise
here so we may have misunderstood them, but what they seem to say is the
following (the relevant discussion is in C&J 2005: 452). In cases like (29)
control exists despite all appearances to the contrary. What these sentences
mean is paraphrased approximately as (30), and (30) involves control of the
PRO of the interpolated predicate bring it about.
(30)

Hilaryi intends PROi to bring it about that Bill come to the party

So, to allow INTEND to mean intend and to show that intend always
involves control, C&J expand the concept of control to include cases of control
of an implicit subject of an implicit ACT complement as well as explicit ones.
However, now we are faced with the second problem for decompositional
approaches like this one: paraphrases are not meanings. Though we agree that
the sentences in (29) can be paraphrased as (30) for many circumstances, this
does not imply that (29) means what (30) does. So, for example, it is not clear
to us that (31) below is a contradiction, which it should be if (29) meant (30).
(31)

Hilary intended for Bill to come to the party though, being lazy and
complacent, she intended to do nothing whatsoever to bring this about

We can make a stronger case to the same effect with another of C&Js
examples. They analyze plan as also involving INTEND. Thus, (32) should
be interpreted as (33):

234

Some notes on semantic approaches to control

(32)

Hilary is planning that Ben will come to the party

(33)

Hilary is planning to bring it about that Ben will come to the party

However, here it is quite clear that Hilary could be planning what we have in
(32) without planning what we have in (33). Rather, her plans can be based on
the assumption that Ben will come without her doing or having to do anything
about it. In short, (34) is clearly not contradictory.
(34)

Hilary is planning that Ben will come without planning to bring it about that
Ben will come

There is a way of repairing this problem. We can assume that plan does not
involve INTEND as a subpart. However, if it does not, it leaves unexplained why
plan heads a control structure when coupled with a non-finite complement
as in Johni planned PROi to leave. One could always fish around for another
primitive controller to ameliorate matters, but in the end the problem illustrated
here is, we believe, a quite general instance of Fodors problem. Fodor has
repeatedly pointed out that the capitalized predicates exploited in semanticdecomposition proposals rarely mean what their lower-case brothers do. As
such, it is never quite clear what they do mean. But if this is so, it is an
unpromising strategy to aim to explain how their putative semantic powers
arise from their meanings. More often than not, either what is delivered is not
an explanation but a stipulation, or the meanings are left unspecified (albeit
with a nod and a wink towards the lower-case analogue). This general problem
carries over to C&Js control account. Until we know what INTEND means
exactly, we cannot have any confidence that its meaning underlies its control
powers. Moreover, as all control ultimately rests on the meaning of these
primitive predicates, we are left with no explanation of control at all.
There is yet another problem with C&Js strategy. Recall what the aim of
the game is. The project is to show how what grammarians think of as control
actually piggybacks on a more basic notion of semantic control that arises
from a small class of primitive predicates that enforce control as an inherent
part of their meanings. However, what C&J claim is that there exists a type
of implicit control in sentences like (29) and (32) that appears not to be an
instance of grammatical control at all; there are no PROs, non-finite clauses, or
apparent binding. In other words, C&J in effect propose that there are cases of
semantic control even in the absence of syntactic control, as what the primitivecontrol predicates enforce is not syntactic control but semantic control. But this
leads to a prediction: licit control interpretations are semantically, not syntactically, delimited. This seems clearly incorrect. Note that under C&Js approach,

7.3 Simpler syntax

235

(35) below is a control configuration with the rough interpretation in (36).


However, if (36) is a fine reading of (35), why can (37a) with indexation in
(37b) not mean what (35) means?
(35)

Bens mother said that Hilary is planning that Ben will come to the party

(36)

Bens mother said that Hilary is planning to bring it about that Ben come to
the party

(37) a.
b.

Bens mother said that Hilary is planning PRO to come to the party
Bens1 mother said that Hilary is planning PRO1 to come to the party

What gets us (37b) is the mechanism C&J exploit to regularize (29) and
(32) in service of getting INTEND to mean intend. As noted, this move
effectively divorces syntactic and semantic control as control configurations
obtain even in the absence of a syntactically bound PRO. But so construing
control should allow a syntactic PRO to be bound by an antecedent other than
its grammatical controller so long as semantic control can obtain. This is what
is done in (37b). It should be fine with the meaning paraphrased in (36), i.e.,
Hilary controls the subject of to bring it about and so the control imposed
by the meaning of INTEND has been satisfied. However, (37a) does not
have this meaning. Thus, the fix C&J propose to allow INTEND to be a
basic controller in virtue of its meaning actually ends up leaving unexplained
standard cases of syntactic control.
Another illustration of Fodors problem as pertains to control is appropriate.
C&J suggest that the object-control properties of persuade come from its
meaning cause to come to intend (p. 446). But anyone can see that this is
not what persuade means (e.g., one can cause someone to come to intend to
leave by threatening or humiliating them rather than persuading them); it is, at
most, a part of its meaning. But even this is only clear for those cases where
the complement is infinitival. Thus (38) is not well paraphrased as (39) despite
persuade being the matrix predicate.
(38)

John persuaded Mary that Frank had come

(39)

John caused Mary to come to intend that Frank had come

If so, then it cannot be that persuade (somewhat) means cause to come to


intend but, at most, that persuade with an infinitival complement means this.
Thus, the meaning, such as it is, is a product of the composition of the non-finite
complement and persuade. But what is it about this combination that results
in this meaning? C&J do not say. Perhaps because the complement when finite
need not be an ACTion. But note here it is an ACTion (what Frank did was

236

Some notes on semantic approaches to control

come/Frank came voluntarily). How does the fact that it need not have been an
action (although it is one) affect the compositional properties of the predicate?
C&J again do not say. Moreover, even if the complement is infinitival unless it
has a PRO subject, we do not see syntactic control, as illustrated in (40) below.
Though (40) is degraded, it is perfectly meaningful. We understand it to mean
something roughly like (41).
(40)

??John persuaded Mary for Bill to come

(41)

John persuaded Mary to bring it about that Bill come

Note that if we assume that (40) is actually a case of semantic control (like in
[29] and [32]), then we end up with the problem analogous to that in (37a): why
can (42) below not mean what (43) means? One possible answer is that control
semantics only arises when the infinitival complement has a PRO subject. This
would get the result but it would clearly not be very satisfactory for we would
want to know what it is that PRO contributes and this is precisely what the
proposed theory of control is supposed to explain.
(42)

John1 persuaded Mary PRO1 to come

(43)

John1 persuaded Mary to bring it about that he1 come

There are several moves one might make to finesse this line of reasoning.
However, the point is not whether one could do this in this particular case.
Rather, the point is that C&J owe us a theory of how to compose complex
conceptual structures from primitive ones so that we see why control occurs
with non-finite complements but not with finite ones. When persuade has a
finite clausal complement there is no control. Why not, given the meaning of
persuade noted above? Why does it become semantic control with a non-finite
complement and why grammatical control when the non-finite complement has
a PRO subject? C&J do not say. However, unless C&J say why control with
persuade relies on these conditions (i.e., unless some rules of composition are
offered), we have not been offered an account of how the meaning of persuade
results in control.
We could go on and on. However, we hope that the main objection with C&Js
semantic project is clear. Theirs is an essentially decompositional approach to
control. As such, it suffers the well-known vicissitudes of all such theories. In
place of capitalization, C&J need to provide an account of the meanings of the
primitive predicates and principles of composition for forming complex conceptual structures from basic ones. The problem is that compositional theories
never really manage to do this. Either the meanings of the conceptual structures

7.4 Conclusion

237

are identified with that of the words that embody them (IDENTIFY/identify)
or their meaning is left either unspecified or stipulated. In the first instance it
is easy to argue that the proposed meanings cannot be correct. In the second,
no real account is offered at all. As such, decompositional accounts generally
resolve into elaborate discussions of individual cases. In effect, in place of a
general account, we are provided with a list. We hope that the reader appreciates
how much more the MTC offers.
7.4

Conclusion

This may be a good moment to note that accepting the MTC does not entail
rejecting semantic contributions to determining control. As noted above with
respect to refrain from, for instance, a better understanding of the lexical
semantics of embedding predicates in complement-control structures will certainly supplement syntactic accounts in explaining why a given binding relation
must obtain regardless of whether the embedded subject is overt or not.
However, the overall conclusion of the discussion in the previous sections is
that, left to their own devices, semantic approaches to obligatory control do not
constitute a viable alternative to syntactic approaches as they are bound to both
under- and overgenerate. Once they are essentially based on the semantic relations between control predicates and their complements, they undergenerate
in being unable to account for adjunct control and for the syntactic conditioning one may find in the specification of subject or object control in adjunct
configurations (see section 7.3.2.1). On the other hand, they overgenerate in
incorrectly predicting obligatory control where the subject of the embedded
complement to a control predicate is overt (see the discussion of [19], [29],
[32], for instance).
That semantic approaches to obligatory control fail to achieve an adequate
level of theoretical explanation becomes even more transparent when a detailed
comparison with the MTC is made. As shown in the sections above, the MTC is
able to provide a non-stipulative, conceptually motivated, and unified account
of all the problems faced by semantic approaches to control, without sacrificing
empirical coverage.

The movement theory of control


and the minimalist program

8.1

Introduction

The movement theory of control (MTC) has been, much to our surprise, a
controversial proposal. This book has aimed to outline (and trumpet) its virtues
and to consider (and parry) purported vices. In this concluding chapter, we
would like to return to the MTCs conceptual foundations, especially as regards
its relation to the broader concerns of the minimalist program. Truth be told,
our main interest in the MTC has much more to do with minimalism than with
control. Or, more accurately, we believe that control is currently interesting
because of its near perfect fit with certain central tenets of the minimalist
program as realized in the MTC. Indeed, we could be persuaded to go so far as
to claim that a minimalistically respectable account of control will necessarily
have some version of the MTC at its core. This chapter is a defense of this
claim.
The defense will proceed through various layers of abstraction. First, we will
remind readers of the fact that (obligatory) control relations exemplify canonical
properties of movement, minimalistically construed. Second, we return once
again to how the minimalist program and the MTC conceptually intertwine, the
latter presupposing the truth of some of the central tenets of the former in
particular, the elimination of D-structure. Third, we argue that the MTC alone
is consistent with the explanatory ambitions of the minimalist program. The
main reason for this is that PRO-centered accounts of control must run afoul of
the anti-construction bias characteristic of the minimalist program, a prejudice
embodied in the inclusiveness condition, which we interpret to forbid (among
other things) coding of formal properties as lexical properties.
In the process of making these claims we note that the MTC is actually
a conservative extension in a minimalist setting of the classical approaches
to control, and in one sense much more consistent with classical generative
analyses than are PRO-based accounts, despite the latters superficial notational
similarity to the GB view. The take-home message is that if you like the
238

8.2 Movement within minimalism and the MTC

239

minimalist program, then you should love the MTC and eschew PRO-based
accounts of control, as they fit poorly with the principles, architecture, and
explanatory aspirations of the minimalist program.
8.2

Movement within minimalism and the movement


theory of control

Within the minimalist program there are several signature properties of movement, the three major ones being locality, economy, and copying. We have
argued that the dependency exhibited in obligatory control (OC) acts as if governed by the same restrictions. In other words, given standard minimalist marks
of movement, OC is a dependency generated by movement. Let us illustrate.
With respect to locality, there are two cases: minimality effects and freezing
effects. Let us consider them in turn, starting with minimality. Intervening DPs
in A-positions block the establishment of further A-dependencies by prohibiting
A-movement across them. This, we have argued, is the source of the minimaldistance principles restrictions on possible antecedents of PRO. Thus, in cases
like (1), John is not a possible antecedent of PRO, as moving across Mary
is prohibited by minimality (see section 3.4.1).
(1)

John1 persuaded Mary2 PRO1/2 to leave

Moreover, apparent exceptions to this generalization, e.g., subject control with


promise and control shift, arise precisely because the apparent intervening
DPs do not actually c-command the PRO position and so do not function as
interveners (see section 5.5).
Note that this same account explains why it is that OC PRO must be a
syntactic subject (see section 7.3.2.2). Consider the structure in (2), for instance,
which represents A-movement from a non-subject position:
(2)

[ . . . DP1 . . . [DP2 V DP1 . . . ]]

The dependency illustrated in (2) between the two instances of DP1 violates minimality as they span an intervening DP2 . Given that OC requires
an antecedent, an OC chain will always bottom out in a syntactic subject, for
all other dependencies will necessarily violate minimality.1
1 Still compatible with minimality are potential cases with a non-subject OC PRO where PRO sits
in a caseless position. For example, Hornstein (2001), following a suggestion by Alan Munn,
proposes that reflexive predicates like wash, shave, and dress in English optionally assign
case and may therefore license an OC PRO/A-trace in the object position, as represented in (i).

240

The movement theory of control and the minimalist program

Let us now consider the effects of freezing, which in the case of A-relations
prohibits A-movement from a -complete domain. Freezing explains why
control, like raising, is possible into non-finite clauses but is generally prohibited into finite ones, as illustrated in (3) below. Given that in English finite
clauses are -complete domains, freezing prohibits A-movement from the subject position of the embedded clause of (3b).
(3) a.
b.

John hoped [PRO to win]


John hoped [PRO won]

Two points are worth emphasizing here. First, the MTC is unique among
current approaches to control in providing a principled explanation of the
contrast in (3) (see section 2.5). All other analyses are reduced to stipulating
the distribution facts of OC PRO that it appears exclusively in the subject
position of -defective clauses, e.g., infinitives and gerunds. Second, exceptions
to freezing are expected to be possible control configurations, and indeed they
are. For example, in Brazilian Portuguese, finite indicative clauses can be defective and, accordingly, they do support OC dependencies (see section 4.4).
Let us now examine another characteristic feature of movement within MP,
economy in the sense of Chomsky 1995. It too governs OC dependencies.
In the guise of merge-over-move, it is instrumental in explaining the restriction to subject antecedents in adjunct-control configurations. In (4) below, for
example, John, but not Sue, can control PRO due to merge-over-move (see
section 4.5.1.1). If merge-over-move is at the root of this restriction, then OC
dependencies must be generated by movement, as merge-over-move regulates
movement, and not construal/Agree operations.2
(4)

John1 saw Sue2 [before PRO1/2 leaving the party]

A fourth diagnostic property of movement within the minimalist program is


that it produces copies (hence the copy theory of movement). If control involves
movement, then there should be copies. This expectation is clearly borne out
The effects of minimality in these constructions can be observed in (ii), where Mary cannot be
the antecedent of PRO, because Bill intervenes.
(i)
(ii)

Bill1 washed/shaved/dressed PRO1


Mary1 wants Bill2 to wash/shave/dress PRO2/1

2 Recall that Portuguese allows subject or object control in adjunct configurations depending on
whether or not the matrix wh-object is in situ or has undergone movement (see section 7.3.2.1).
This once again shows that it is the possibilities for movement to take place that lead to subject
or object control (see Nunes 2008c).

8.3 The MTC and the minimalist architecture of UG

241

in copy-control languages and languages that allow backward control (see


sections 4.5.4 and 4.5.3). Indeed, as we have argued, it seems to us that
only the MTC can account for backward control for such control configurations in PRO-based theories necessarily violate principle C and so should
be impossible.3 That the MTC combines so neatly with the copy theory of
movement to provide a straightforward account of these phenomena is, in our
view, a particularly clear illustration of the tight conceptual fit between central
tenets of the MTC and the minimalist program.
Note that these four features of OC configurations reflect the operation of
very general principles of movement in the minimalist program. Following
the duck principle (if it quacks, walks, and flies like a duck, it is a duck),
from the fact that OC dependencies look as if they respect these principles,
it follows that OC is a dependency generated by movement, at least from a
minimalist perspective. Importantly, the above principles and their concomitant
technology are central features of minimalist grammars. To the extent that they
reflect more fundamental minimalist conceptions (and most do),4 control must
be a movement relation on minimalist grounds given that it exhibits what the
minimalist program takes to be the core properties of movement.

8.3

The movement theory of control and the minimalist


architecture of UG

The MTC rests on the assumption that movement into -positions is grammatically viable. In other words, the MTC is incompatible with D-structure.
D-structure, recall, is the syntactic level where all and only -relations are
coded. It is also the input to all transformation processes (e.g., movement).
Together, these two properties (i) prohibit movement into -positions and (ii)
require that all argument DPs begin their derivational lives in -positions. The
MTC is clearly incompatible with (i) and thus its theoretical viability requires

3 To date we know of no PRO-centric analysis of backward control. This suggests that there is a
consensus: should backward control exist, then PRO-based analyses are incorrect. For recent further novel examples of backward control, see e.g., Fujii (2006) and Alexiadou, Anagnostopoulou,
Iordachioaia, and Marchis (2008).
4 For example, the copy theory of movement, which replaces the less methodologically valued
trace theory, may be taken to follow from the simplest definition of merge (see Chomsky
2004). In turn, minimality and freezing have been central features of generative grammar since
the late 1980s and are excellent candidates of least effort principles, which are the hallmark
of the minimalist program. Of the group, merge-over-move is the most conceptually suspect,
though also the most deeply embedded in current phase-based approaches.

242

The movement theory of control and the minimalist program

the elimination of D-structure as a grammatical level. As disposing of Dstructure (a methodologically unwelcome grammar-internal level) is a central
architectural feature of the minimalist program, there exists a tight conceptual
connection between the minimalist program and the MTC. How tight? The
MTC clearly implies the absence of D-structure. Moreover, the absence of Dstructure is sufficient to license the MTC. Thus, a central architectural feature
of the minimalist program the elimination of D-structure is both necessary
and sufficient for the MTC. Before considering this in more detail, let us take
a brief digression.
Though incompatible with (i), the MTC is not incompatible with (ii). The
MTC requires that movement into -positions be possible, but it is agnostic
as to whether argument DPs must begin their derivational lives in -positions.
We mention this, for the only empirical argument against movement into positions that we know of, which was offered in Chomsky 1995, can rely on (ii)
only. Consider the sentence (5a), for example. This sentence is derived if John
is merged into the embedded [Spec, TP] in preference to raising someone.
John then moves up to the matrix [Spec, vP] to get the external -role and
up to the matrix [Spec, TP] to get case checked, as illustrated in (5b). If we
assume that someone in (5b) can check (partitive) case with be (see e.g.,
Belletti 1988 and Lasnik 1995), then the derivation should converge. Moreover,
this derivation should block the derivation of (6). Chomsky (1995) notes that
(5b) respects merge-over-move, whereas the derivation underlying (6) would
not (someone is raised to [Spec, TP] instead of John being merged into that
position).
(5) a.
b.
(6)

John expects to be someone kissing Sam


[TP John [vP John expects [TP John to be [vP someone kissing Sam]]]]
John expects someone to be kissing Sam

Chomsky (1995) uses the ban on movement into -positions to rule out the
derivation in (5b). However, this approach is not in consonance with his general
attempt to minimize look-ahead. He observes that prohibiting first merge of
an argument into a non-thematic position will allow the illicit nature of (5b)
to become immediately evident. This is correct. However, if this prohibition
is not primitive but actually a subpart of the more general prohibition against
movement into -positions, it is not clear that the grammar will locally block
the derivation. The purported grammatical violation (the lack of a -role in
John) will only become evident downstream, as it were, and not at the point
of the derivation where John is introduced. So the (primitive) prohibition
against first merging into a non-thematic position is not only sufficient to rule

8.3 The MTC and the minimalist architecture of UG

243

out the derivation in (5b), but also more congenial to local computations. This is
good news for the MTC. So interpreted, the ungrammaticality of (5b) does not
tell against the MTC because the MTC is consistent with the requirement that
argument DPs enter derivations through a thematic door, so long as subsequent
movement into -positions is countenanced.
This said, the reader should not conclude that the proposed prohibition
against first merge into non-thematic positions is correct. There are accounts
that derive the facts in (5) and (6) by assuming that be is not a case checker
and that someone cannot check accusative case against the matrix light verb
due to the intervention of the lowest copy of John (Nunes 1995, 2004) or
by assuming that non-finite clauses do not have TP specifiers (see Castillo,
Drury, and Grohmann 1999 and Epstein and Seely 2006). Furthermore, it
is not clear why the proposed restriction against merging into non-thematic
positions should exist if D-structure does not (not a small matter in the context
of minimalist theorizing). However, for current purposes, it is worth noting that
these issues, though important, are incidental to the MTC proper and what
is important here that the data in (5) and (6) are not problems for it.
To recap: one of the central architectural features of the minimalist program
has been the elimination of D-structure. There is thus a very close conceptual
connection between the minimalist program and the MTC, to wit, that a necessary condition for the theoretical viability of the MTC (that D-structure not
exist) is one of the central tenets of the minimalist program. This contrasts with
most other theories of control currently being considered. They do not rely on
any distinctive minimalist assumptions and thus, though they might be compatible with the minimalist program, their theoretical apparatus (though not the
technology used to express control dependencies) is largely independent of it.
The conceptual connections between the minimalist program and the MTC
are stronger still. Not only does the MTC imply the absence of D-structure, but
the absence of D-structure is sufficient for the MTC given standard ancillary
assumptions. Specifically: once D-structure is eliminated as a grammatical
level, nothing prohibits movement into -positions. However, if so, then the
MTC is a grammatical option. Thus, not only is eliminating D-structure a
necessary condition for the MTC, it is a sufficient one as well:
(7)

MTC no D-structure

In other words, to the extent that the elimination of D-structure is a central


feature of the minimalist program, the MTC is quintessentially minimalist.
If this is correct, the reader may be asking, why has this not been observed
previously? The main reason is that eliminating D-structure does not imply

244

The movement theory of control and the minimalist program

removing D-structure conditions from the grammar. Here is some Whig history:
Chomskys (1993) argument against D-structure was actually quite narrowly
focused. D-structure within GB, for example, is a level with many distinctive
properties: it is input to the transformational component, meaning that all Dstructure operations precede all transformational operations, and it represents
pure GF-. Chomsky (1993) argues that the first noted feature of D-structure
(Satisfy in the parlance of Chomsky [1993]) must be dispensed with and grammars must adopt generalized transformations that allow derivations to interleave
operations akin to lexical insertion with operations akin to movement. Chomsky (1993) actually retains the thematic restrictions coded at D-structure, but
in another form. It proposes banning movement into -positions, or restricting
a DPs -role assignment to its first merge. In sum, in Chomsky (1993), the
elimination of D-structure is only partial. The MTC requires that it be complete:
not only must Satisfy be rejected, but the segregation of functions between lexical insertion and movement (the first being designated to satisfy -relations,
the latter to satisfy all the other grammatical dependencies) should be given
up as well. The upshot then is that the MTC requires a more radical elimination of D-structure than considered in Chomsky (1993).5 How reasonable is
this?
On methodological grounds, the wholesale elimination of D-structure and
its restrictions is clearly the preferred option. If D-structure has certain properties, then eliminating D-structure entails removing the restrictions coded in
D-structure from UG. Moreover, we believe that current theoretical assumptions internal to the minimalist program lead to the same conclusion. The 1993
vintage of the minimalist program distinguishes two different operations: move
and merge. The former contrasts with the latter in being greedy and being driven
by feature-checking requirements. More recent avatars of the minimalist program take merge and move to be different instances of the very same operation.
If so, then either both should be subject to feature-checking requirements or
neither should be. Whichever tack one takes, however, the prior differentiation
between move and merge is conceptually difficult to retain and, correspondingly
we believe, the prohibition against movement into -positions becomes theoretically awkward to enforce. Thus, on both methodological and theory-internal
grounds, we believe that there is every reason to retain the methodologically
superior option (the complete elimination of D-structure and its properties) that
underwrites the MTC.
5 More accurately: as discussed above, the MTC requires that movement into -positions be an
option; it commits no hostages to whether argument DPs must first merge into -positions.

8.4 Inclusiveness, bare phrase structure, and the MTC

245

In sum: the MTC is closely tied to a central feature of the Minimalist


Program the elimination of D-structure. Removing D-structure and its attendant properties from UG is both necessary and sufficient for the MTC to be
grammatically viable. In other words, once D-structure is removed, the only
way of preventing it is to encumber UG with principles that are not otherwise
methodologically or theoretically required. The minimalist ethos frowns on
this.6 Of course, this does not mean that the MTC is correct. The facts may
force us to back away from the minimalist optimum. We have argued extensively that the facts do not require this. However, regardless of how this plays
out empirically, we think it a virtue of the MTC that it follows quite seamlessly
from the elimination of D-structure, especially in the context of the minimalist
program.
8.4

Inclusiveness, bare phrase structure, and the movement


theory of control

The elimination of D-structure has a second important consequence for the


theory of control. D-structure, recall, consists of two kinds of operations:
phrase-structure rules and lexical-insertion operations. In this context, PRO
is a perfectly sensible grammatical element. It is what arises via the application of a DP phrase-structure rule sans lexical insertion, namely [DP e]. In
a minimalist approach that adopts bare phrase structure (see Chomsky 1994,
1995), this derivational option no longer exists. Bare phrase structure strongly
embodies the X-theoretic conception that phrases are projections of lexical
elements.7 No lexeme, no phrase structure. This makes the GB conception of
PRO above a non-starter.
So, how is PRO to be described? There are two options: as a primitive lexical
item or as a grammar-internal formative. The second option is the one explored
6 See for example Chomskys (2004) discussions on treating move as just internal merge. As he
observes, one need not do this, but not doing it is methodologically suspect as it comes for free
unless specifically blocked.
7 One can adopt the endocentricity assumption behind X-theory without assuming that phrases are
projections of lexical heads. On such an interpretation, X-conventions regulate phrase-structure
rules: XP . . . X . . . It is consistent with this that there be lexical-insertion rules that replace
X with lexical items of category X. However, the original motivation behind X-theory was
to remove the redundancy in systems that generated phrase structure and lexical insertion that
pruned it. The pruning seemed to imply that lexical items coded structural consequences. If this
is so, why not just build the structure required by the head that is inserted in other words, build
to specifications contained in the head? This assumes not merely endocentricity but the stronger
notion that phrases are projections of heads. On this latter view, one cannot have phrases that are
lexically headless.

246

The movement theory of control and the minimalist program

by the MTC. Before considering the first option, let us quickly see how the
MTC is actually a conservative extension in a minimalist setting of the classical
GB conception.
Within GB, PRO is, as noted, a grammatical formative an expression
whose existence and properties derive from the organization of the grammar.
In this respect, PROs are cousins to traces, the main difference being their
grammatical provenance, traces being by-products of movement. Nevertheless,
both elements are structurally similar (both have the shape [DP e]), the only
formal difference being the source of their indices, movement supplying the
requisite index for traces and construal doing the same for PROs. In GB, traces
and PROs are formally identical at LF.8
The MTC models this similarity by identifying PROs and A-traces. As copies
replace traces in the minimalist program, the formal similarity embedded within
GB carries over to the minimalist program if PROs are copies as well. This
is the crux of the MTC; PROs are what we call A-traces that have wandered
into -positions. What is critical to note here is that copies are perfectly welldefined elements within minimalism and occurrences/copies of an expression
are licit entities consistent with bare phrase structure.9 Moreover, the properties
of control structures are expected to derive from general principles of grammar,
as control relations like A-trace dependencies are grammatical products
formed by move/(re)merge. So, as in GB, the MTC embodies the assumption
that the properties of control configurations derive from (and so directly reflect)
the underlying operations and principles of UG.
Let us now consider the option of treating PRO as a lexical item and not a
grammatical formative. On this conception, PRO is like the, dog, bring,
this, etc. It lives in the lexicon and it can merge and move, just like any other
lexical item or phrase. There are no problems with bare phrase structure on
this conception because PRO functions like any other (nominal) expression
drawn from the lexicon. However, it is worth considering for a moment how
radical a departure this is from the classical conceptions of control. Generative
grammar has generally analyzed control properties as grammatical by-products.
In the standard theory, PRO is a phonetic gap that results from deletion under
equi. Taking PRO to be the product of this operation aims to explain its
8 PROs are identical to A-traces in particular, which like PROs are bereft of case, in contrast to
A-traces.
9 One argument against traces is that unlike copies they violate the inclusiveness condition.
On the assumption that derivations cannot add new elements to the derivation, traces are
methodologically suspect elements. Of course, if PROs and traces are identical, then classical
GB PROs are suspect elements as well, being purely theory-internal formatives.

8.4 Inclusiveness, bare phrase structure, and the MTC

247

semantic and phonetic properties. In turn, in GB, PRO is [DP e]. The analysis
of PRO as [DP e] is meant to account for its distribution and its semantic and
phonological interpretation. In both cases, the analysis of PRO reflects the
view that control facts directly follow from basic operations and organizing
principles of grammars (see sections 2.3 and 2.4). In contrast, assuming that
PRO is a lexical item (rather than a grammatical formative) is, in effect, to treat
its special licensing requirements as lexical quirks and this seems to us quite
wrongheaded. Indeed, in a generative context, one can go further. So treating
PRO is to endorse a form of constructionism. Here is what we mean.
Since the early 1980s, generative grammarians have assumed that constructions do not exist. What does this mean? It is the claim that the fundamental
principles of grammar operate independently of the lexical items that they
manipulate. For example, relative clauses are not islands because they involve
particular lexical heads or contain particular lexical items, but because they
instantiate particular structures. Topicalization, focus, and relativization do not
obey islands because they involve topic, focus, or relative heads, but because
they all involve A-movement. In other words, grammatical operations and
restrictions have the properties they do not because of the functional features
of the constructions in which they apply, but because of the formal properties
that these constructions instantiate. It is in this sense that constructions do not
exist; they are not the fundamental units of syntactic analysis. The problem with
treating PRO as a lexical item is that it amounts to analyzing control configurations as constructions: control properties follow from the unique properties
of the lexical item PRO, which defines the construction. In effect, the control construction directly reflects the idiosyncratic properties of a distinctive
lexical item, rather than the basic operations and organization of the grammar.
The GB antipathy to construction accounts carries over to the minimalist
program, where it is coded in the inclusiveness condition. The inclusiveness
condition can be interpreted as a prohibition against confusing lexical and
structural information. It discourages coding structural information onto lexical formatives. But this is what reducing the grammatical properties of control
structures to the lexical requirements of a lexical item PRO does. Indeed, many
(if not all) the properties of this lexical item cannot even be identified independently of the grammar. PRO needs a local, c-commanding, syntactic antecedent
and can only be licensed within (tense- or -)defective domains. How are these
requirements to be stated in purely lexical terms? How can they be expressed
except by adverting to grammars, their structures, and their basic operations
and principles? They cannot be. PROs requirements are grammatical licensing requirements. Postulating PRO makes no sense except in a grammatical

248

The movement theory of control and the minimalist program

context. Its requirements are entirely grammar-internal. Even describing what


they are requires reference to principles and operations of the grammar. Consequently, treating PRO as a lexical element violates the spirit of the inclusiveness
condition and so renders PRO a suspect element, given minimalist standards.
In the end, postulating lexical elements like PRO to account for the attested
properties of control cannot possibly yield explanations of these properties
(descriptions yes, explanations no), for a lexical item like PRO codes as part
of its content the very properties that are supposed to be explained. This is the
(very high) cost of violating the inclusiveness condition.
If this is correct, then the upshot is that PRO-based accounts of control within
minimalism are not compatible with the explanatory ideals of the minimalist
program. But as the only non-PRO-centric theory of control is the MTC, this
implies that only the MTC is compatible with the minimalist program. The
reader will have noticed that this reinforces our earlier conclusion reached
above regarding the MTC and the elimination of D-structure. Dispensing with
D-structure implicates the MTC. Bare phrase structure implicates it as well.
There is thus a very tight conceptual fit between the MTC and the minimalist
program. We take this to be a positive feature of the analysis.
Once again, one should not conclude that, because the MTC fits well with
the minimalist program, the MTC is correct. However, it does suggest that
those with minimalist aspirations should smile on the MTC and that the burden
of proof must be with those that reject it. Furthermore, if the fit between the
minimalist program and the MTC is as tight as we have suggested, then the
evidentiary bar relevant to rejecting the MTC should be quite high. If we are
correct, then, among the alternatives on offer at present, only the MTC has
the capacity to move beyond description to explanation. The reason is that
only the MTC evades constructionism and tries to derive the properties of
control structures from general principles of grammar rather than from the
special licensing conditions of a peculiar lexical item. Moreover, if we are
right, the kind of explanation we should provide incorporates the MTC, as this
is an inherent feature of minimalism that ineluctably follows the elimination of
D-structure.
8.5

Conclusion

In the earlier chapters we have tried to elaborate a movement theory of control.


We have tried to address the empirical difficulties attributed to the MTC as well
as outline what we take to be its empirical strengths. In this last chapter we
have briefly recapped why we think that the MTC is a particularly interesting

8.5 Conclusion

249

theory in the context of the minimalist program. We have argued that, in a


minimalist context, the MTC is essentially the null hypothesis about control.
Conceptually, methodologically, and theoretically, it is an almost perfect fit
with the minimalist program. Given these virtues, its considerable empirical
coverage is a delightful bonus. The MTC not only covers virtually all of the
classical facts in a principled manner it even leads to the discovery of new
kinds of data (e.g., backward control and copy control) and points to novel
kinds of derivations (sideward movement) that have led to an appreciation of
the subtle possibilities inherent in the modern minimalist approach to grammar.
The MTC might be wrong (though we doubt this), but we do not believe that it
will be wrong in a trivial way. Given how deeply interweaved it is with general
minimalist precepts, principles, and operations, showing that it is inadequate
should tell us a lot about how control in particular and anaphoric dependencies
in general are grammatically coded and, importantly, about the scope and
prospects of the minimalist project.

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Index

acquisition, 170, 223


activation condition, 48
Agree, 26, 63
A-movement, 1, 29, 34, 36, 4648, 57, 68, 70,
75, 77, 78, 88, 128, 148, 160, 194, 208,
239
Assamese, 122

equivalent NP deletion, 6, 54
super-equi, 8
exceptional case-marking verb, 1619,
126128, 148, 153
exhortative construction, 190193
expletive, 41, 47, 99, 134, 143, 150, 151, 173
extension condition, 86, 93

bare phrase structure, 49, 53, 84, 245


Basque, 166168
binding domain, 1114
binding theory, 11, 16, 80

Boskovic, Zeljko,
104, 159, 228

Ferreira, Marcelo, 24, 31, 64, 143


floating quantifier, 160166
Fodors problem, 234
freezing, 138, 239240
Fujii, Tomohiro, 190193

case theory, 12, 68


case transmission, 165166
c-command, 13, 21, 47, 90, 102
Chomsky, Noam, 1, 3, 14, 16, 28, 46, 48, 52,
53, 57, 66, 72, 79, 80, 90, 128, 145, 219,
221, 242, 244
clitic, 100101, 133
commitative PP, 2234, 185193
control
adjunct, 7, 87, 90, 92, 121, 203, 215, 226,
240
complement, 170, 216, 226
module, 16, 3943
partial, 21, 182
copy theory of movement, 53, 57, 59, 8090,
99, 101, 104, 108, 240
Culicover, Peter, 141152, 216

German, 129, 132134


government and binding theory, 1, 5, 916, 35,
38, 43, 48, 52, 57, 86, 244, 246
Greek, 68, 70
heavy NP shift, 181
Hebrew, 27, 67, 130, 147149
Hmong, 120, 121
hyper-raising, 48, 70, 126, 127, 136, 140,
149
Icelandic, 153154, 158, 160168
idiom, 42, 45, 72, 107, 147, 150, 151, 155159
inclusiveness condition, 5355, 80, 238, 247
inherent case, 133153, 168, 219
island, 60, 63, 75, 92, 117, 151, 196, 200, 207,
247
Italian, 62, 89

de se interpretation, 13, 25, 4951, 196199


double-object construction, 173181
D-structure, 3, 36, 79, 194, 238, 241248

Jackendoff, Ray, 141152, 216


Japanese, 190193

economy, 90, 91, 195209, 228, 239240


ellipsis, 13, 1825, 49, 64, 120, 196198

Kinande, 69
Kiss, Tibor, 125, 132136

261

262

Index

Koopman, Hilda, 117119


Korean, 110112, 113
Landau, Idan, 2035, 63, 66, 125, 130, 152,
160, 170, 177, 183186, 190, 193
Lasnik, Howard, 16, 38, 242
Latin, 61
lexical semantics, 216226, 237
Lightfoot, David, 60
linear correspondence axiom, 116118
linearization, 116119, 146
merge, 44, 46, 49, 53, 79, 83, 86, 90, 203, 206,
228, 244
pair-merge, 145
set-merge, 145
minimal-distance principle, 6, 7, 47, 90, 169,
176, 191, 239
minimalist program, 3, 36, 39, 43, 53, 80, 124,
238
nominalization, 172, 224
null case, 1720, 227
null pronoun, 187, 195, 197, 200, 204209,
219
parser, 204209
passive, 39, 57, 125, 133, 153, 179, 224
long passive, 129
phase, 31
Portuguese
Brazilian, 24, 3133, 6263, 6466, 6768,
7174, 77, 78, 89, 9697, 127, 136140,
142146, 188, 198200, 204, 212, 215,
227, 228
European, 1720, 74, 99101, 227
principle C, 103, 138, 241
principles-and-parameters theory, 16, 38
PRO theorem, 1112, 13
pronominalization, 197209
proto-role, 175
quirky case, 152, 182, 194

reconstruction effect, 53, 79


redundancy rule, 32, 65
Reinhart, Tanya, 50
relativized minimality, 56, 76, 129, 169, 194
Rodrigues, Cilene, 24, 6263, 89, 186189,
197
Romanian, 70, 77, 105
Rooryck, Johan, 214
Rosenbaum, Peter S., 47, 90, 151, 169, 170,
223
Salmon, Nathan, 50
San Lucas Quiavin Zapotec, 120121, 212
Satisfy, 244
scrambling, 107, 111
selection restriction, 2024, 69, 106, 147, 171,
201, 211216, 229
Sichel, Ivy, 147150
sideward movement, 85, 92, 121, 146, 200,
203, 227

Sigursson, Halldor Armann,


152, 164165
sloppy reading, 21, 49, 64, 120, 196, 197198
Spanish, 160, 188189
split antecedent, 49, 182
standard theory, 6, 52
strict reading, 196198, 199
Telugu, 122
thematic role, 172, 213, 224
transparency, 206208
Tsez, 106109, 212
uniformity of theta assignment hypothesis
(UTAH), 172182, 219225
Vata, 118119
visibility condition, 15
Vissers generalization, 126, 130, 132, 136
voice transparency, 42, 110
wanna-contraction, 59
wh-movement, 180181, 227
Wurmbrand, Susi, 18, 129, 187, 211