Basic English Syntax with Exercises


8.2 Raising and Control

In this case, Henry is the one doing the thinking and he is the one who is happy. If the pronoun refers to Henry then the interpretation is ultimately that Henry is happy (or at least this is what he thinks). But if the pronoun refers to someone else, then the interpretation is not that Henry is happy. However, the two elements are independent, regardless of what their referential properties are. The same is true of the overt subject and the missing subject in (44b). (45b) demonstrates that there really are two independent arguments in this construction as the subject of the higher predicate cannot be spelled out as a pleonastic element. In contrast, this is exactly what is possible in (45a), demonstrating that there really is only one argument here. The same point is made the other way round in (46). In this case we see that with a verb like seem, a different argument cannot be realised in the two different subject positions as there is only one Θ-role involved. A verb like want, on the other hand, can realise arguments overtly in both subject positions as there are two independent Θ-roles. So, one kind of missing subject shares a Θ-role with another element in the sentence while the other kind of missing subject has a Θ-role all of its own. The next three examples demonstrate that the two different kinds of missing subject have different referential properties. The non-independent type of missing subject which shares a Θ-role with its antecedent, must be lower in the structure than its antecedent. Hence it cannot be part of a structure which is raised to a higher position and the ungrammaticality of (47a) follows. The independent type of missing subject on the other hand can, under certain circumstances be higher in the structure than its antecedent, hence the grammaticality of (47b). The contrast in (48) again shows a difference in the referential properties of the two missing subjects. In (48a) we see that it is impossible for the dependent missing subject to refer to an object: they are always associated with subjects. In (48b) we have an independent missing subject, it being the one who is doing the looking after. As we can see, it is capable of referring to the object as the ultimate meaning is that Larry will be the one ‘looking after himself’. Finally, (49) shows that the dependent type of missing subject cannot refer out of the subject clause of another clause, where as the independent missing subject can.