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Linguistic Inquiry

Fall 2003, Vol. 34, No. 4, Pages 660-668
(doi: 10.1162/ling.2003.34.4.660)
© 2003 Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Determining Pair-Merge
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Abstract

Chomsky (2001) proposes that the distinction between adjuncts and phrases in other grammatical relations follows from the way in which they are each introduced into structures.1 In particular, he distinguishes between the basic mechanisms of set-Merge and pair-Merge (see the discussion of these in section 1). A fundamental question left unan-swered in his work is how the Narrow Syntax (NS) component of the derivational system can determine that pair-Merge is required in the integration of adjuncts into  structures, rather than the default set-Merge. This squib proposes that the answer to this question derives from the (obligatory) existence of a functional category, Mod, in the structure of adjuncts ([Mod [YP‘‘Adjunct’’]]) that is parallel in nature to the (obligatory) functional categories in nominals and clauses.