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Linguistic Inquiry

Spring 2017, Vol. 48, No. 2, Pages 341-366
(doi: 10.1162/LING_a_00245)
© 2017 by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Stripping and Topless Complements
Article PDF (479.17 KB)
Abstract

This article shows that stripping, the elision of declarative TPs, is possible not only in coordinate structures, but also in embedded clauses—however, only when the complementizer is absent. This Embedded Stripping Generalization is not predicted by earlier accounts of stripping, but it falls out from a certain combination of independently available assumptions. Specifically, I propose a zero Spell-Out view of ellipsis in a dynamic (or contextual) phasehood approach, which, together with the lack of a CP layer in that-less embedded clauses, derives this generalization in languages like English. I then briefly consider stripping in other languages and suggest that the analysis also has the flexibility to accommodate crosslinguistic differences in the distribution of stripping.