This article addresses the syntax of the notorious tough(-movement) construction (TC) in English. TCs exhibit a range of apparently contradictory empirical properties suggesting that their derivation involves the application of both A-movement and Ā-movement operations. Within previous principles-and-parameters models, TCs have remained “unexplained and in principle unexplainable” (Holmberg 2000:839) because of incompatibility with constraints on θ-role assignment, locality, and Case. This article argues that the phase-based implementation of the Minimalist Program (Chomsky 2000, 2001, 2004) permits a reanalysis of null wh-operators capable of circumventing the previous theoretical difficulties. Essentially, tough-movement consists of A-moving a constituent out of a “complex” null operator that has already undergone Ā-movement, a “smuggling” construction in the terms proposed by Collins (2005a,b).

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