Some Remarks on Agreement and on Heavy-NP Shift

Richard S. Kayne

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


    This chapter discusses agreement (between subject and verb), focusing on the important role of a silent auxiliary in a certain nonstandard English construction first discussed by John Kimball and Judith Aissen. Heavy-noun phrase (NP) Shift from the leftward movement perspective introduced by Richard Larson and developed further by Marcel den Dikken is also discussed. It is argued that the absence of Heavy-NP Shift in some subjectverb- object (SVO) languages (such as Haitian) can be understood in terms of a remnant movement approach that makes use of Dominique Sportiche's idea that D can be introduced outside of verb phrase (VP). It is very plausible that movement to subject position takes place in the same way in English in present tense sentences and in past tense sentences, with the difference in overt agreement attributable to an orthogonal PF property of those phi features that determines whether or not they are spelled out (and if they are, how). Somewhat different would be a case in which movement to subject position takes place, but in which the verb agrees with a different argument than the subject.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Title of host publicationMovement and Silence
    PublisherOxford University Press
    ISBN (Electronic)9780199788330
    ISBN (Print)9780195179163
    StatePublished - Sep 1 2007


    • Grammar
    • Heavy-NP shift
    • Movements
    • Subject-verb agreement
    • Verb phrases

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • General Arts and Humanities


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