This squib presents an argument for an agreement-based model of control (Borer 1989, Landau 2000, 2004, 2006, 2008), drawn from a crosslinguistic generalization about control in passives. Specifically, I show that obligatory control by the thematic subject of a passive is sensitive to a purely syntactic restriction: it is only possible if T does not agree with an overt DP. This restriction follows from the logic of an agreement-based approach, if implicit arguments participate in Agree relations (Landau 2010, Legate 2010). This generalization subsumes and derives an old observation about control, Visser’s Generalization ( Jenkins 1972, Bresnan 1982).

Our point of departure is the observation, termed Visser’s Generalization (VG) by Bresnan (1982),1 that control by an implicit subject is disallowed in the passive of English ditransitive control verbs. Such verbs divide...

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