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Exercise 7.1
First, identify the chains, both trivial and non-trivial, in each of the sentences in (i-v).
Secondly, classify each chain as to whether it is an A-chain or an A’-chain. Thirdly,
explain how each chain is consistent with the θ-Criterion:
(i) The match seems to have stopped.
The matchi seems [ ti to have stopped]
1. As shown in the sentence above, the match, the external argument of the
embedded predicate, is moved to the Spec, IP and leaves a trace behind. Since the
argument undergoes a movement, the match and its trace form a non-trivial chain.
A chain which consists of more than one member is called a non-trivial chain.
2. The argument is moved to an A-position (Spec,IP), this chain is an A-chain.
3. The verb ‘seem’ takes one argument called a one-place predicate. Here in this
sentence, only one θ-role and only one argument is included in the chain which is
transmitted from the embedded clause to the root clause, so the chain is consistent
with the θ-Criterion.
(ii) Who appears to be likely to win the match?
[ CP Who t4 [IP t3 appears [t2 to be likely [t1 to win the match ]]]]
1. The external argument ‘Who’ and its traces form three non-trivial chains.
2. The external argument’s moving from t1 to t2 and from t2 to t3 forms two A-chain,
because the two landing sites are A-positions. Meanwhile, it forms an A’-chain
when the argument who is moved to the Spec,CP from Spec,IP.
3. The landing site, Spec,CP is a θ’-position. And the other traces are all at
θ’-positions. The chains are consistent with the θ-Criterion.
(iii) Has Bill seen John?
1. There is no movement, so there is a trivial chain between Bill and John.
2. The predicate ‘seen’ assigns two -roles. Every -role is assigned to a single
argument and every argument is assigned a single -role vice versa.
(iv) Who was arrested?
[ CP Who [IP t’ was arrested t] ]
1. Who and its traces form a non-trivial chain.
2. Moving who from object position of arrested to Spec, IP is an A-chain. Moving
who from Spec, IP to Spec, CP is an A’chain.
3. Who receives a θ-role from arrested and the positions it moved are θ’-positions.
(v) Mary placed the file into the drawer.
1. Mary, the file, and the drawer are three trivial chains, because each chain consists
of only one member.
2. Mary receives agent θ-role from place; the file, theme θ-role from place. Place also
assigns a location θ-role to the PP-complement, and the preposition transmits the
location θ-role to the NP-complement, the drawer. Every -role is assigned to a
single argument and every argument is assigned a single -role vice versa.
Exercise 7.2
Explain how the sentences in (i-iii) are excluded in the context of the discussion in
this chapter:
*John appears that Mary will see the play.
Appear is a raising predicative, It only assign a -role to the proposition but no
one to the external argument. That is, the external argument should be an expletive, it.
In this sentence, John is not paired with any θ-role, so this sentence is excluded by
*There thinks that the audience will like the play.
The subject of the root sentence ‘there’ is an expletive pleonastic. The verb
‘Think’ is a two- place predicate. It assigns a proposition as a θ-role, but it has no
external argument, because ‘there’ is a non-argument without a θ-role, ‘there’ is not a
θ-role but it is posited in a θ-position. This violates the Criterion.
*John believes [t to have seen the play].
‘See’ is a two-place predicate, which assigns a theme θ-role to ‘the play’ and
agent-θ-role to the trace. The trace subsequently transmits the θ-role to John.
Nevertheless, ‘Believe’ is also a two-place predicate, which assigns an agent-θ-role
to ‘John’ and a proposition.. This makes two θ-roles in the θ-position where ‘John’ is
posited, so this sentence is excluded.
Exercise 7.3
The θ-Criterion is said to exclude a raising analysis for the Control sentences in (i-iii).
A raising analysis would involve movement of the root subject from the embedded
subject position in (i) (Subject Control) and movement of the root direct object from
the embedded subject position in (ii) (Object Control). Explain why the θ-Criterion
rules out such an analysis, and explain how example (iii) fits into the picture:
Bill tried to leave.
John persuaded Bill to leave.
It is difficult to leave (in these circumstances).
Based on the raising analysis, the sentences (i-iii), can be parsed as:
Billi [VP tried [IP(PRO) ti to leave ]]
The PRO is raised to the root subject and transmits the θ-role there. Since
the verb ‘try’ is a two-place predicate, it assigns both internal and external
arguments. Namely, the chain which consists of Bill and its trace receives
two θ-roles. If so, this sentence obviously violates the -criterion.
2. John [VP persuaded Billi [IP(PRO) ti to leave ]]
Similar to the sentence (i), The raising of PRO makes the position where
‘Bill’ posited receives two -role.
3. It is difficult [IP (PRO) to leave (in these circumstances)] i
Different from the sentence (i) and (ii), in (iii), the PRO is not the trace of
the subject ‘It’. Furthermore, the expletive, ‘it’, is neither a non-argument
nor a co-indexed with the subject of the embedded clause. That is, though
this is an A-chain, ‘it’ is only posited to be an expletive pleonastic without a
In terms of the above analysis, we object to this raising analysis for the Control
sentences, because we cannot neglect the PRO as a covert agent. According to the
Control Theory, PRO is counted an argument which is defined as a referring
expression. In (i), the PRO refers to the subject Bill (Subject Control); in (ii), the
object Bill (Object Control). But does the analysis accounts for the sentence (iii)?
Sentence (iii) can be elaborated as It is difficult for one to leave (in these
circumstances) (Arbitrary Control). What it differs from the proceeding two sentences
is that the PRO and the expletive pleonastic ‘it’ are not co-indexes and they share
different -roles. In fact, ‘it’ has no -role.
Exercise 7.4
Explain how the ambiguity of sentences with multiple quantifications such as (i) is
explained in the framework outlined in this chapter. Once you have done that, explain
whether the analysis predicts the fact that sentence (ii) is not ambiguous. Sentence (ii)
has only the reading whereby the wh-phrase has scope over everyone. Depending on
the conclusion you reach with respect to (ii), explain whether the fact that sentence (iii)
is ambiguous raises any problems. Sentence (iii) can either have the reading whereby
the wh-phrase has scope over everyone or the reading whereby everyone has scope
over the wh-phrase:
Everyone bought some present.
(ii) What did John buy everyone?
Answer: John bought everyone a tie.
(iii) What did everyone buy John?
Answer: Everyone bought John a tie.
Answer: Mary bought John a tie, Bill bought John a CD, Jane bought John a
Sentence (i) is said to have two readings:
(a) Pair reading: [IP everyone ti [IP some present tj [IP ti bought tj] ] ]
“Everyone” has scope over “some present.”
The meaning is that each person bought a different present. Such as Mary bought
watch, Bill bought a book, etc.
(b) Specific reading: [IP some present ti [IP everyone tj [IP ti bought tj] ] ]
‘‘Some present” has scope over “everyone.”
The meaning is that everyone bought the same thing as present.
For this exercise, we are trying to improve that sentence (iii) is ambiguous, while (ii)
is not. That is, the scope structure in (ii) is definite but there could be two or more
than two structures for sentence (iii).
In (ii), What did John buy everyone? what has scope over everyone as
SS: [CP what ti did [IP John buy everyone ti ] ].
John buy everyone ti
Therefore, (ii) can only have specific reading as (b): John bought the same thing to
In the contrast, in (iii) What did everyone buy John? The LF structure coud be
different from the SS and DS. In SS: [CP what ti did [IP every buy John ti ] ].
everyone buy John ti
Here in this DS structure, ‘everyone’ is scope over ‘what.’ That means everyone
bought the same thing for John.
Meanwhile, ‘everyone’ can be regarded as adjunct of IP and ‘what’ is raised to
Spec,CP, so ‘what’ should have scope over ‘everyone’ as
[CP what did [IP everyone [IP teveryone buy John twhat ] ] ].
everyonej John buy tj ti
The Spec, CP, ‘what’, thereby C-commands ‘everyone.’ That is, it can be a
many-to-one reading. We therefore conclude that (iii) can have two readings so that it
is ambiguous
Exercise 7.5
Sentences such as (i-iv) include so-called secondary predicates, angry in (i),
exhausted in (ii), flat in (iii) and raw in (iv). Like all predicates, secondary predicates
have a θ-role to assign. Such sentences have been argued to require a relaxation of the
uniqueness requirement incorporated into the θ-Criterion such that an argument can
receive more than one θ-role. Explain why. If you have reasons to believe that the
uniqueness requirement should not be relaxed, try to think of an analysis for (i-iv)
which makes them consistent with the θ-Criterion:
John left the room angry. (cf. John is angry.)
Bill reached the finish line exhausted. (cf. Bill is exhausted).
Mary hammered the nail flat. (cf. The nail is flat.)
John ate the fish raw. (cf. The fish is raw.)
At the first glance, these sentences seem to cause a violation of θ-Criterion because
the secondary predicates, such as angry and exhausted in (i&ii) assign their external
arguments experiencer or theme θ-roles, as shown in (1).
John left the room angry.
From this perspective, it seems that we have to relax our θ-Criterion to
accommodate an argument with two θ-roles under the situation of secondary
predicates. However, relaxation criterion is not preferable to linguists, because it
might trigger more rules, constraints, or relaxations. To look for some other
alternatives, we have to carefully examine the secondary predicates, and we find that
there are some subjects or objects deleted. The sentences can be reconstructed as
followings. The first predicate assign the first -role in each sentence; the secondary
predicate assign the second -role to the PRO in each sentence. And we also find the
PROs are co-index with their antecedents. In sentence (1) and (2), the PROs and the
agents form A-chains; in sentence (3) and (4), the PROs and the themes do. No matter
the PROs are the co-indexes of agents or themes, the chains they form are A-chain,
and the chain coincide the -criterion. In addition, based on sentence (1) to (4) we
believe that θ-Criterion is applied before the deletion. In conclusion, there is no need
for us to relax the θ-Criterion.
(1) Johni left the room [IP PROi angry].
(2) Billi reached the finish line [IP PROi exhausted].
(3) Mary hammered the naili [IP PROi flat].
(4) John ate the fishi [IP PROi raw].
Exercise 7.6
One of the consequences of the θ-Criterion is that expletives can only appear in
non-θ-marked positions. The set of non-θ-marked positions excludes the complement
positions. As pointed out in this chapter, complement positions are θ-marked by
definition. Bearing this in mind, explain whether the sentences in (i-iv) are
They mentioned it to him that he was not shortlisted for the job.
John resents it very much that Bill is always late.
John would hate it for Bill to resign.
They require it of all students that they should attend regularly.
The root verbs in theses four sentences are two-place predicates as demonstrated
below. These verbs as subcategorized to have both internal and external θ-roles so that
these sentences are said to be problematic for the reason of “it” as their internal
arguments, which is non-argument obtains a θ-role in each sentence.
1. mention: agent <theme, (goal)>
2. resent: agent <theme>
3. hate: agent <theme>
4. require: agent <theme, (source)>
We find that “it” in these sentences receives a theme role and each of these
sentences has an additional clause at the rightmost of the sentence. Moreover, this
clause can serve as the referent of it. To prove this claim, we can substitute the clauses
for it.
(i). They mentioned (that he was not shortlisted for the job) to him.
(ii). John resents (that Bill is always late very much.)
(iii). John would hate (for Bill to resign.)
(iv). They require (that all students should attend regularly.)
The above data demonstrate that in fact, “it” in these sentences is not expletive
but referential. They do not move, and they are not traces, either. They are posited
only due to predicates need an internal θ-role. Furthermore, on the LF level, they are
co-indexes with the clauses and receive the θ-roles from the verbs then transmit to the
clauses. Their existence is to help the clauses gain the θ-roles. If so, (i-iv) are not
excluded by θ-Criterion.
Exercise 7.7
Discuss the argument structure of the verbs in each of the pairs of sentences in (i-iii).
Among other things, discuss whether the verbs in each pair should be derivationally
related, and if so how:
i)a. The horse jumped (over the fence).
i)b. The rider jumped the horse (over the fence).
ii)a. The dog walked (to the park).
ii)b. Mary walked the dog (to the park).
iii)a. The horse raced across the barn.
iii)b. Mary raced the horse across the barn.
The verbs in (ia), (iia), and (iiia) are intransitive; the verbs in (ib), (iib), and (iiib)
are transitive. The agents in (ia), (iia), and (iiia) are the themes in (ib), (iib), and (iiib).
We find sentences (b) have causativization reading, as:
1. The rider caused the horse jump (over the fence).
2. Mary caused the dog walk (to the park).
3. Mary caused the horse race across the barn.
If we parse the sentences based on the VP-shell structure, we can vividly see that
they are derived from sentences of (a) by adding an agent, internalizing the original
external argument, and assigning it theme θ-role. In this way, we believe that the pair
sentences are derivationally related.
the horsei
(over the fence)