Deletion versus pro-forms: An overly simple dichotomy?

Mark Baltin

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    This paper examines an anaphoric construction, British English do, and locates it within the dichotomy in the ellipsis literature between deleted phrases and null pro-forms, concluding that the choice is a false one, in that pro-forms involve deletion as well; the question, then, is how to account for the differential permeability to dependencies that require external licensing of the various deleted constituents. British English do has some characteristics of a fully deleted phrase, and some of a pro-form. The paper proposes that deletion is involved in this construction, but of a smaller constituent than can host wh-movement or long quantifier-raising. Therefore, deletion must occur within the syntax, in order to bleed syntactic processes. It is further shown that, within a phase-based syntax, Voice must be a phase rather than v, but that both functional heads must exist, and offers a new explanation for the incompatibility of passive and British English do, as well as an account of why some languages, like English, lack impersonal passives, while others, such as Dutch, allow them.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)381-423
    Number of pages43
    JournalNatural Language and Linguistic Theory
    Issue number2
    StatePublished - May 2012


    • Anaphora
    • Deletion
    • Ellipsis
    • Phases
    • Pro-forms

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Language and Linguistics
    • Linguistics and Language


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