Much current theorizing analyzes ellipsis as a PF operation silencing designated syntactic domains from which focal constituents are extracted prior to deletion.1 In many cases, this requires exceptional evacuation movements that are not observed—and often altogether illicit—in corresponding nonelliptical forms. We introduce a novel set of data involving modal particles in German that militates strongly against obligatory movement of ellipsis remnants, suggesting that deletion instead applies to independently generated surface forms, in a manner analogous to deaccenting. The discussion will focus on clausal ellipsis only, ignoring other, crosslinguistically less common types of incompleteness such as VP-ellipsis and pseudogapping.

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