Abstract

Using Takahashi and Fox 2005 as an exemplar, this article argues that analyses of English ellipsis that make recourse to a MaxElide constraint (first introduced in Merchant 2008) are untenable, and that one must look beyond MaxElide to explain the distribution of acceptability in the “rebinding” elliptical constructions that MaxElide was originally invoked to explain. A novel analysis is outlined that attributes the unacceptability observed in the rebinding dataset to an inability to satisfy a more restrictive, reflexive version of Takahashi and Fox’s parallelism condition on ellipsis recoverability. More broadly, the success of this analysis supports the notion that clausal and nonclausal ellipsis are governed by distinct recoverability conditions. This article therefore provides support for a nonunitary approach to the semantic licensing of ellipsis.

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