In this article, we illustrate that arguments in German and Czech differ in their ability to function as antecedents for certain associates (floating quantifiers, parasitic gaps, and predicate nominals). While some of the differences can be explained in terms of surface intervention, others cannot. We propose that this is accounted for if the association abilities are determined early in the derivation—namely, at the edge of the vP phase, where the arguments’ base order is still preserved. While later operations may alter the relative order of the arguments, they come too late to have any effect on the arguments’ licensing abilities, thus rendering intervention effects opaque.

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